Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fed releases the Beige Book

Summary: here

Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts indicate that economic activity continued to stabilize in July and August.

Hooray! The worst is behind us. We can celebrate.
Not so fast:

Labor market conditions remained weak across all Districts.

The theme among the drab, bureaucratic jargon seems to be that things may be getting worse, but not nearly as fast as they were. In math terms, the first derivative is still negative but the second derivative has now switched from positive to negative.
Everything is flat: sales, real estate (residential and commercial), tourism, wages (soft though), and agriculture.

Which begs the question: if everything is so bad, what is driving the stock market?

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