NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Last Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave the markets the clarification they were looking for; the content of the speech, however, went against expectations. Bernanke stated that the Fed will gradually ease out of its bond-buying program, which would eventually lead to raising rates as soon as 2015.Markets must now learn to operate in an environment absent the "Bernanke Put," a term describing the policy enacted by the Federal Reserve to provide downside protection for markets. The first chart below is of Barclays TIPS Bond Fund ( TIP) over Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury Bond Fund ( IEF), which measures inflation expectations based off of Treasury market movements. Investors were caught on the wrong side of the Fed last week as many thought inflation was too low to warrant decreasing stimulus. The pair below highlights that for much of the year markets have been fleeing inflation-protected securities. Growth has remained gradual and general tepid data from all over the world have suppressed inflation.
Expect the U.S. yield curve to flatten in the following weeks, especially if inflation expectations fail to begin their ascent.
The final pair is of SPDR Homebuilders ETF ( XHB) over S&P Equal Weight ETF ( RSP), which measures the relative strength of U.S. homebuilders' stocks versus the broader market. When Bernanke began to target long-term rates and mortgage-backed securities in 2012 to spur investment, homebuilders stocks got a major boost. Declining mortgage rates and an improved labor market led to more housing demand. At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @AndrewSachais This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.