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Beige book: US economy grows more slowly

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Richard Drew/AP/File

(Read caption) Specialist Michael Sollitto (right) directs trades at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on July 28, the last time the Federal Reserve released its beige book. That day the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 40 points. On Wednesday, after the latest beige book release, the Dow rose 46 points.

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OK, US economic growth is not all snap, crackle, and pop.

It's more like cereal five minutes after you add the milk: soggy but still afloat.

That's the picture painted by the Federal Reserve's so-called "beige book," a summary of economic conditions that was released Wednesday.

"Economic growth at a modest pace was the most common characterization of overall conditions," the report summarized, "but with widespread signs of a deceleration compared with preceding periods."

Pessimists could find plenty to complain about. Five of the Fed's 12 districts reported mixed conditions or decelerating growth during the period from mid-July through August. All of those districts were in the eastern half of the United States: New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, and Chicago.

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