Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Beige Book Shows What We Already Knew

The market is well off its lows from this morning, and is on the fringe of going positive for the session. This would make for a nice turnaround day on a day when we broke below the August lows in the morning.

The Fed's Beige Book was just released, which gives a snapshot of economic activity among the various Fed districts. I didn't say anything we didn't already know. But here are the highlights:
  • Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that economic activity increased modestly during the survey period of mid-November through December, but at a slower pace compared with the previous survey period.
  • Among Districts, seven reported a slight increase in activity, two reported mixed conditions, and activity in three Districts was described as slowing.
  • Most reports on retail activity indicated subdued holiday spending and further weakness in auto sales. However, most reports on tourism spending were positive.
  • Residential real estate conditions continued to be quite weak in all Districts. Reports on commercial real estate activity varied, with some reports noting signs of softening demand.
  • Manufacturing reports varied across industries, with pronounced weakness noted in housing-related industries as well as the automobile industry. Strong export orders and increased demand in industries whose products compete against imports was reported by some Districts.

It's good to see financials leading the way today. Retail stocks are bouncing back from their drubbing also. Anything that is related to the global economy, such as commodities, materials, industrials, energy, etc. is getting hit today.


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