The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark rate by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday at the end of a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C., in a bid to keep the longest economic expansion in U.S. history from petering out. It was the first reduction since the financial crisis more than a decade ago. Central bankers also said they would halt the unwinding of its $3.8 trillion of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities in August, earlier than expected.
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