Market sets new highs as traders shed tapering fear

THE US stock market rose to more record highs last week as traders saw the bright side of "tapering", and the run will continue if the crowds show up at the holiday-season sales this week.

With jobs data like the report on Thursday showing new weekly claims at their lowest level in nearly a decade, market bulls are betting that the recovery is not only strong enough for tapering to begin but strong enough to withstand the inevitable increase in interest rates.

As Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and his likely successor Janet Yellen have repeatedly said, tapering is not the same thing as rate hikes. So as long as the central bank keeps its benchmark rate close to zero, the rise in mortgage rates and Treasury...

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