WASHINGTON -- Federal Reserve officials yesterday showed their determination to slow the pace of U.S. economic activity by :boosting short-term interest rates for the sixth time this year.

Members of the Federal Open Market Committee raised the federal funds rate, which banks charge each other for overnight loans, to 5.50% from 4.75%. The increase, which was greater than most analysts expected, occurred after two government reports came out suggesting that the economy is continuing to roll along in high gear.

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