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Fed Chair Janet Yellen Says She Expects Interest Rate Hike by End of Year

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says she expects the central bank to begin raising interest rates by the end of the year.

The Fed lowered its benchmark interest rate to near zero in 2008, during the financial crisis, and has not raised it since. Yellen made the prediction in a lecture Thursday night at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Stocks were set to open sharply higher Friday on Wall Street. Dow Jones industrial average futures were up more than 200 points. Investors have been waiting for months for clarity from the Fed on when it will raise rates as the economy improves.

At its latest policy meeting, last week, the Fed chose not to raise rates, citing concerns about the world economy and low inflation. The Fed meets twice more this year, in late October and mid-December.

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Yellen, 69, paused twice toward the end of her speech, appearing to have lost her place, and was seen afterward by paramedics. The Fed said she “felt dehydrated at the end of a long speech under bright lights” and felt fine later.