Interest Rates: Look, Ma, No Pause!

After teasing Wall Street with his utterances in the last two weeks, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke managed not to spring a big surprise at the central bank's May 10 meeting. As widely expected, the Federal Open Market Committee raised interest rates for the 16th time in a row since June, 2004, to 5%. And the panel carved out some wiggle room to continue raising rates or pause in the future. "They opened the door for stop-and-go Fed policy," says Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago.

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