Federal Reserve officials decided that after the central bank's $600 billion bond-buying program ends this month, they will keep the central bank's balance sheet at a record high. "The economic recovery appears to be proceeding at a moderate pace, though somewhat more slowly than the committee had expected," Chairman Ben Bernanke said. "Some of these headwinds may be stronger and more persistent than we thought. We don't have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting."

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