Fed Chair Bernanke denies tighter policy If the Fed fails, interest rates may climb prematurely, as traders arrange positions for the withdrawal of unprecedented monetary stimulus, according to Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays in New York. The Fed has kept its benchmark federal funds rate near zero for more than four years and swelled its balance sheet to a record of more than $3 trillion through three asset-purchase programs. The Federal Trade Commission study also said that 5 percent of the consumers identified errors in their reports that could lead to them paying more for mortgages, auto loans or other financial products. Central banks around the world have printed money to escape the global financial crisis, sapping investor appetite for dollars and euros and setting off a scramble for safety. smartphonesAnnouncement hits BlackBerryBlackBerry shares fell 4.5 percent in New York trading after Home Depot said it will stop issuing the Canadian company's phones to its corporate employees and managers. After years of losing ground to the iPhone and Android devices, the BlackBerry's market share has slipped into the single digits.