Most Fed officials at last meeting backed slower rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Most Federal Reserve officials at their last meeting favored reducing the size of their interest rate hikes “soon’’— just before raising their benchmark rate by a substantial three-quarters of a point for a fourth straight time. The central bank’s policymakers saw “very few signs that inflation pressures were abating.” Still, a “substantial majority″ of the officials felt that smaller rate hikes “would likely soon be appropriate,” according to the minutes of their Nov. 1-2 meeting. The Fed is widely expected to raise its key short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, by a half-point when it next meets in mid-December.