Global markets writhed Thursday, with stock and bond prices slumping in heavy trading and the dollar rallying, as investors prepared for eventual reductions in Federal Reserve bond-purchase programs, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Speaking on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stressed that the Fed isn't poised to raise interest rates any time soon. But assuming economic data keep improving in the world's biggest economy, it will look to trim its monthly bond purchases from the current level of $85 billion a month by the end of this year.