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Beige Books Sees ‘Modest to Moderate’ Growth

The nation's economy grew at a ""modest to moderate pace"" from early April through the end of May, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its periodic Beige Book. From late February through early April, the last Beige Book released described economic growth simply as ""moderate."" The sole bright spot in Wednesday's report was in the Dallas Federal Reserve District, which had ""strong economic growth."" The Beige Book reported slowdowns as a result of federal budget sequestration, which forced a mandatory cutback in spending.

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Commentary: Go With The Flow

Perhaps the most important piece of economic news in the last few days was not the continued drop in the unemployment rate or the positive blurbs in the Beige Book or even the Dow reaching a new record high, but Thursday's quarterly Flow of Funds report. According to the report for Q4 2012, household assets grew to $79.5 trillion in the fourth quarter, an increase of $1.3 trillion--not too shabby. Household financial assets were up $784 billion to $54.4 billion but home equity (the value of household real estate less loans against that real estate) grew $452.8 billion, the result of two moving parts: real estate values (which increased) and household mortgage liabilities, which dropped.

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Existing-Home Sales Dip in December; Inventory Falls to 11-Year Low

Existing-home sales fell 1.0 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million, and November sales were revised downward, slipping below 5 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. Economists had expected the sales pace to improve to 5.1 million. The supply of existing homes for sale fell in December to 1.82 million, the lowest level since January 2001. At the current sales pace, the homes available for sale represent a 4.4 month supply.

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Beige Book Sees Economy Expanding

Economic activity expanded in the closing weeks of 2012, the Federal Reserve said in its periodic Beige Book released Wednesday, reflecting a slow but steadily declining unemployment rate and low rates of inflation--conditions the Fed said would have to be met before it raises interest rates. According to the Beige Book, districts reported stronger consumer spending--about 70 percent of the nation's GDP--with holiday sales ""modestly higher"" than in 2011. At the same time, the report said business contacts were ""citing concerns that consumers will spend cautiously due to ongoing fiscal uncertainty.""

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Beige Book Shows Regional Economic Differences

The Federal Reserve painted a picture of a split economy with concerns about the ""fiscal cliff"" in its periodic Beige Book released Wednesday. The economy, according to the Beige Book, expanded ""at a measured pace"" in seven of the 12 federal reserve districts--Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. According to the Beige Book, business leaders and others ""expressed concern and uncertainty about the federal budget, especially the fiscal cliff.""

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Residential Real Estate Bright Spot in Fed Report

The nation's economy generally expanded modestly from mid-August until the end of September, the Federal Reserve said in its periodic Beige Book report issued Wednesday. The report, the last Beige Book to be issued prior to Election Day, painted a mixed regional picture, with a leveling off of economic activity in New York and a slowing in the pace of growth in Kansas City. Residential real estate proved to be a bright spot amid an otherwise pedestrian report.

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Economy Expanding ‘Gradually’, Real Estate Markets ‘Improving’: Fed

The nation's economy expanded gradually from early July through mid-August, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday in its periodic Beige Book. The description of the economy, drawn from reports from each of the 12 Federal Reserve Districts, differed from the usual tone of Beige Books, which have recently described economic growth as ""modest"" or ""moderate."" Housing markets across most districts, the Beige Book said, showed ""signs of improvement, with sales and construction continuing to increase.""

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Beige Book Cites Modest to Moderate Growth With ‘Guarded’ Optimism.

The economy expanded at a modest to moderate pace from early April to the end of May, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday in its periodic Beige Book. The assessment reflected a weakening from the report in April when the expansion was characterized as moderate. Economic outlooks, according to the report, ""remain positive, but contacts were slightly more guarded in their optimism."" Activity in the New York, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco districts was described as moderate, while the Richmond, St. Louis, and Minneapolis districts noted modest growth.

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Beige Book Cites Modest to Moderate Growth, Concerns About Gas Prices

The economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its periodic Beige Book, reporting faster and solid growth in Kansas City and Minneapolis but moderate or modest growth in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco Cleveland and St. Louis. New York reported economic growth picked up somewhat while Philadelphia and Richmond cited improving business conditions.

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