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ECONOMY

Fed keeps rates steady

Federal Reserve officials agreed Wednesday to keep the federal funds rate target at 0.75% to 1%, amid some concern over the economy's 0.7% growth in the first quarter of 2017.

The decision was announced at the end of a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee in a statement noting that "economic activity slowed."

Even if that pace picks up, committee members expect only gradual increases in the federal funds rate, which “is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run,” the statement said.

Fed watchers are still expecting a rate hike at the June meeting. “Today's policy announcement by the FOMC was largely a non-event, and overall we think the committee has well telegraphed its intent to continue normalizing policy, with two more rate hikes in 2017, as well as by likely laying out a plan for measured balance sheet reduction late in the year,” said Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of global fixed income at BlackRock (BLK), in a statement.