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After 18 months of inertia, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has finally done something: succumb to pressure from Wall Street. On August 17, the Fed cut the discount rate 50 basis points (b.p.), to 5.75%, in the first inter-meeting move since 9/11, after the $33 billion excess it pumped into the credit system over the previous week failed to calm the markets. Both European and U.S. stocks rallied on the news, and intermediate Treasuries followed suit.

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