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Wednesday business briefs

Fed maintains low rates

to help stimulate economy

The Federal Reserve pledged Wednesday to hold rates at record lows to nurture the economic recovery and lower unemployment. But its decision drew dissent from one member, signaling the Fed's challenge in deciding when to pull back stimulus money it pumped into the economy. The Fed's statement sketched a mixed picture of the economy. While it indicated bank lending is contracting, the statement noted that economic activity "continues to strengthen."

Swiss gov't mulls new deal

with U.S. over UBS accounts

The Swiss government said Wednesday that it may have to renegotiate a carefully wrought deal with the United States to hand over thousands of files on suspected tax cheats in return for an end to U.S. legal proceedings against Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS AG. The Internal Revenue Service, which has taken the lead on this issue, said it expects the Swiss government "to continue to honor the terms of the agreement."

SEC approves new rules

for money-market funds

Federal regulators Wednesday tightened rules for money-market mutual funds to require them to hold some assets that could be easily converted to cash, and to disclose new information on fund values. The Securities and Exchange Commission's new rules are designed to bolster protection for investors in money-market funds, which hold about $3.2 trillion in assets.

Stock indexes higher after Fed's report on the economyStocks recovered from an early slide to end moderately higher Wednesday after the Fed issued a more upbeat assessment of the economy following a two-day meeting on interest rates. Treasury prices also reversed direction and began falling as investors withdrew money from safe-haven holdings. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 41.87 points, or 0.4 percent, to 10,236.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5.33, or 0.5 percent, to 1,097.50, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 17.68, or 0.8 percent, to 2,221.41. From wire reports

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