About 2 weeks 'til taper, says Terranova

How long until Fed tapering gets real? According to Fast Money trader Joe Terranova it happens on September 18th.

That's the second day of thenext FOMC meeting when the Fed releases its statement and Terranova, chief market strategist for Virtus, fully expects to hear that the Fed will begin to reduce ongoing asset purchases.

"I think they have no choice," Terranova told us after Thursday's Halftime broadcast. "Europe is healing, China is improving. The Fed said they're targeting 6.5% unemployment and we're moving in that direction. They've got to start landing the plane."

Terranova doesn't believe it's even a matter for discussion anymore. "The only question that remains is, how much," said the top trader.

Of course, 'how much' is the proverbial $64,000 question. For professional traders like Terranova, that's the issue that either makes or breaks a trade.

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"As far as I can tell $10 - $15 billion is already priced in." In other words, Terranova thinks the current level of the S&P reflects the impact of a reduction in bond purchases of $10-$15 billion.

Therefore, if the Federal Reserve does announce tapering and it falls within those parameters, we assume Terranova views a resulting sell-off as a buying opportunity.

And Terranova told us he thinks a sell-off is more likely than not.

"On the news I suspect the knee-jerk reaction will be to sell now and ask questions later," Terranova said, however, when the dust settles that pullback may be viewed as a strategic buying opportunity, that is if you can stomach the volatility.

Trader disclosure: On September 5, 2013, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Joe Terranova is long VRTS; Joe Terranova is long GS; Joe Terranova is long MS; Joe Terranova is long OXY; Joe Terranova is long HOS; Joe Terranova is long HAL; Joe Terranova is long APC; Joe Terranova is long SNDK; Joe Terranova is long SBUX; Joe Terranova is long TRIP; Joe Terranova is long SJM; Joe Terranova is long CXO; Jon Najarian is long AAPL; Jon Najarian is long JPM; Jon Najarian is long BBRY; Jon Najarian is long FB; Jon Najarian is long GRPN; Jon Najarian is long MU; Jon Najarian is long COP; Jon Najarian is long SVU; Jon Najarian is long CIEN; Jon Najarian is long RKUS; Stephanie Link is long AAPL; Stephanie Link is long WFC; Stephanie Link is long JPM; Stephanie Link is long COST; Stephanie Link is long CSCO; Stephanie Link is long JCI; Stephanie Link is long FB; Stephanie Link is long JOY; Josh Brown is long GOOG; Josh Brown is long AAPL; Josh Brown is long LOW