With the economy losing momentum, the Federal Reserve halted the longest unbroken stretch of interest rate increases in recent history Tuesday - a reprieve for millions of borrowers after more than two years of rate pain, the Associated Press reports.

Ben Bernanke, in the most important decision he has engineered since taking the Fed helm in February, led his central bank colleagues in holding a key interest rate steady at 5.25 percent. The vote was 9-1, with one Fed bank president pressing for another increase. It marked the first time in more than two years that the Fed did not boost rates.

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