Modest to Moderate: U.S. Recovery Soldiers On
U.S. equity markets advanced Wednesday afternoon despite starting the day with one foot in the red. Early in the day, stock futures suggested that continued uncertainty over the developing situation in Syria and the dubious status of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s asset-purchase program would weigh down the major indexes, but a battery of relatively positive news has helped bolster sentiment.
At the top of the order is the Beige Book, a summary of commentary gathered from the 12 Federal Reserve districts that provides an outlook on the economy. The report is published eight times per year, usually about two weeks before the Federal Open Market Committee meets (the next meeting is scheduled for September 17-18), and provides an anecdotal — as opposed to explicitly quantitative — outlook of economic conditions.
All told, August’s report was manna for the cautious optimist: “Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that national economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace during the reporting period of early July through late August.”