Fed keeps rate at record low, ends bond buying

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low to support a U.S. job market that’s improving but still isn’t fully healthy and help lift inflation from unusually low levels. As expected, it’s also ending a bond purchase program that was intended to keep long-term rates low.

The Fed on Wednesday reiterated its plan to maintain its benchmark short-term rate near zero “for a considerable time.” Most economists predict that the Fed won’t raise that rate before mid-2015. The Fed’s benchmark rate affects the rates on many consumer and business loans.

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