The Federal Reserve's Beige Book
review of the nation's economy was issued earlier this afternoon and it was received with a yawn. Specifically, the stock market, off modestly before the release, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down some 40 points, or so, barely moved in the first minutes following the publication.
The Federal Reserve
, as transparent as ever, again did the expected when it voted to maintain the current level of interest rates on short-term borrowings
. That decision came at the conclusion of its two-day FOMC meeting, which ended at 2:00 PM (EDT) this afternoon. Few had expected the bank to tighten the monetary aggregates. It had done so at its previous meeting, in mid-March.
The selectively weaker stock market
was at least treated
to a generally benign Federal Reserve Beige Book economic summation
. On point, the Fed noted that each of its 12 Federal Reserve Districts had experienced economic growth between mid-February and the end of March and that the pace of this improvement could be termed modest to moderate. In addition, the pickup was evident across the various economic regions of the country and the respective business sectors.
The U. S. Labor Department
threw a real curve ball out at the economic expansion
on this first week of the 2017 baseball season. Specifically, the March report
from the U.S. Government showed that just 98,000 new jobs were added last month
. Worse, initially estimated payroll gains for January and February were revised modestly lower.
The nation's Federal Reserve Board
, which may not always do what investors want, at least rarely surprises them these days. The lead bank earlier this afternoon opted to boost the federal funds rate by a quarter of a percentage point
, there were few raised eyebrows. Of note, this move had been widely telegraphed in recent weeks, with the odds of an increase in borrowing costs being close to 100% in the days leading up to the Fed meeting.
The Federal Reserve
issued its Beige Book
summation of the nation's economy
. That compilation continued to paint a rosy picture
of the U.S. economy
. The central bank
will now use the information taken from that closely watched summary to help it formulate monetary policy
at its next FOMC
meeting, which will commence on March 14th.
The Federal Reserve
passed on the opportunity to make it two meetings in a row in which it had voted to raise interest rates, when its FOMC gathering concluded with the decision to stand pat on borrowing costs
at this time. This widely expected decision came about even as a pair of strong economic reports had been issued earlier today.
The Federal Reserve provided a look at the nation's economy at the turn of the year and indicated that the upturn was proceeding at a modest pace on average across most regions of the country. Better manufacturing metrics, generally decent retailing numbers (with the exception of a disappointing holiday season), and improving employment data underscored the generally decent outlook in place as we begin 2017.
An increasingly transparent Federal Reserve,
which has widely telegraphed its intention to raise interest rates
before the end of the year did just that minutes ago when the FOMC lifted the federal funds rate target from 0.50% to 0.75%. That was the first such move in a year. The action and the magnitude of the increase both had been expected. The stock market, not surprised by the outcome of the meeting, has responded with a shrug, with prices edging up modestly in the minutes following the bank's release, before subsequently giving back those gains in a modest retreat.
in the key non-manufacturing
in October on an absolute basis, for the 81st month in a row, according to the nation's purchasing managers. In all, such activity registered a reading of 54.8 last month. That was comfortably above the neutral score of 50.0, which separates an expanding services sector from one that is contracting.