WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve left its key interest rate unchanged Wednesday and signaled that it's unlikely to either raise or cut rates in coming months amid signs of renewed economic health but unusually low inflation.

The Fed left its benchmark rate — which influences many consumer and business loans — in a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. Its low-rate policy has helped boost stock prices and supported a steadily growing economy.

A statement from the Fed spotlighted its continuing failure so far to lift annual inflation to at least its 2 percent target rate. The Fed's preferred 12-month inflation barometer is running at about 1.5 percent. In pointing to persistently low inflation, the statement might have raised expectations that the Fed's next rate change, whenever it happens, could be a rate cut. The Fed cuts rates when it's trying to stimulate inflation or growth.

But at a news conference later, Chairman Jerome Powell declined to hint of any potential coming rate cut. He suggested, in fact, that the current too-low inflation readings may be transitory or might not be fully capturing real-world price increases.

"The committee is comfortable with our current policy stance," Powell said.

The chairman's comments appeared to deflate a modest stock market rally that occurred after the Fed issued its statement, with its mention of unusually low inflation. Stock losses deepened later in the afternoon, with the Dow Jones industrial average ending the day down 162 points.

In its statement Wednesday, the Fed announced a technical adjustment to reduce the interest it pays banks on reserves as a way to keep its benchmark rate inside its approved range, rather than at the upper end of that range.

The central bank's decision to make no change in its rate policy — approved on a 10-0 vote — had been expected despite renewed pressure from President Donald Trump for the Fed to cut rates aggressively to help accelerate economic growth.