On Monday, Chairman Ben Bernanke defended the aggressive policies during a speech to the Economic Club of Indiana. The Fed needs to drive down long-term borrowing rates because the economy isn't growing fast enough to reduce high unemployment, Bernanke said.

He also sought to reassure investors about the Fed's timetable for keeping its short-term rate ultra-low. The plan doesn't mean the Fed expects the economy to be weak through 2015, he said, noting that policymakers plan to keep rates low well after the economy strengthens.

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