Fed stays easy-money course

The Federal Reserve held its easy-money policies in place Wednesday in the face of a moderately growing economy facing headwinds from the government's severe "sequester" spending cuts.

The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee, as widely expected, kept the central bank's key interest rate at zero to 0.25 percent and its $85 billion a month bond-buying program in place in a bid to support economic growth.

"Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in March suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace... but fiscal policy is restraining economic growth," the policy makers said in a statement.

The FOMC said it continued "to see downside risks to the economic outlook." it said it expected inflation over the medium term would run "at or below" the central bank's 2.0 percent objective.