- Summary: The Fed's 'beige book' report on regional economic activity showed that economic growth lessened around the U.S. in the past six weeks, while price pressures generally 'remained in check.' The report, one of many factors the Fed uses to determine monetary policy, would seem to give another reason to end rate hikes in the near future. Consumer spending appears somewhat weaker, while strong factory and commercial lending activity suggests business spending may be compensating for it. On wages, a growing gap between highest- and lowest-paid employees was observed, and food retailers appear stronger than restaurants in some regions, suggesting more low-income customers are choosing to cook at home rather than eat out. The report led the dollar down sharply against the Euro and Asian currencies, on concerns for a weaker U.S. economy and lower interest rates in the near future.
- Comment on related stocks/ETFs: Note that Treasury bonds continue to move higher as evidence of a slowing economy builds.
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