Obama's debt stand-off is getting tense

President Obama says he won't negotiate on the debt ceiling. But the Fed’s tapering delay has thrown a spotlight on Washington’s urgent need for a proper solution.

Wall Street was left with its mouth wide open this week when US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke finally revealed his cards only to show that he had nothing in his hand. Traders had bet big on the Fed tapering back its $US85 billion-a-month bond buying program following comments by Bernanke in June, which seemed to be preparing the market for a gradual withdrawal of its assistance.

The US sharemarket rejoiced upon hearing the news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both closed at all-time highs on Wednesday, taking comfort that the Fed’s presence in the market would keep share prices higher.

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