Bernanke (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Global stock markets have lost $3 trillion in value since Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last month that the Fed might soon slow stimulus efforts, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Analysts have developed several theories on his remarks, including that they might be a rhetorical move to appease fiscal-policy hawks on a key Fed committee, a move to head off speculative bubbles in the financial system, a way to prepare markets for a more definitive decision to cut bond purchases or a genuine attempt to change course on large asset purchases.

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