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Washington (AFP) – The Federal Reserve stayed the course on tapering its stimulus for the U.S. economy Wednesday, reducing its asset purchases by $10 billion for the second month in a row.

The Fed, as expected, cut the stimulus to $65 billion a month, while leaving its benchmark interest rate near zero, citing “growing underlying strength in the broader economy.”

Wrapping up the two-day monetary policy meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the last of outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke, policy makers noted that despite some mixed economic indicators since the December FOMC meeting, overall the U.S. economy was doing better.

Information indicates “that growth in economic activity picked up in recent quarters,” the FOMC said in a statement.

“The Committee sees the risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having become more nearly balanced,” it said.

Photo: AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski

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