We saw some encouraging news this morning with the Fed's Beige Book report, its somewhat of a glass half-full scenario with a hole in the bottom of the glass ..First the CNN report, then the Chet update;
The economy has shown signs of stabilizing or modestly improving in recent weeks, according to the latest Federal Reserve snapshot of regional economic conditions. "Reports of gains in economic activity generally outnumber declines," the Fed said Wednesday in the latest edition of its Beige Book. "But virtually every reference to improvement was qualified as either small or scattered." The Beige Book, published 8 times a year, is a summary of economic conditions in the central bank's 12 districts. It precedes, by about two weeks, the central bank's scheduled policy meeting at which interest rate movement is discussed. The housing market and manufacturing activity, which have been improving since the summer, were two bright spots in the October report. However, commercial real estate remains a concern, with all 12 districts reporting weak or deteriorating conditions in that sector. (end of story). For example, the section at Home Depot where they sell "For Lease" signs is sold out and on back order!
It's often challenging to see much improvement on a day-to-day basis. It's easier and usually more reliable to use the data coming from various metropolitan areas throughout the country where the measurements can be weighed and scaled. We are in a complicated situation here..The Fed realizes that they see improvements but they are very small and thus we are vulnerable to falling backward( as opposed to falling forward). For this reason, they are not looking to pull the stimulus infusions back just yet but also may no longer be exploring new forms of stimulation as any program needing governmental approval has to compete with the healthcare debate, a war against terrorism and a midterm election next year.