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Despite a backdrop of slowing first-quarter economic activity, the Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to continue reducing its monthly stimulus program. In a move that met market expectations, the U.S. central bank cut back its bond purchases to $45 billion a month, which is $40 billion less than the original total in a program that has swelled the Fed balance sheet to more than $4.3 trillion. The decision came as recent signs showed that first-quarter growth was even weaker than expected. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that gross domestic product increased just 0.1 percent, a full percentage point below expectations. More