Economic conditions remained status quo from early October through mid-November, leaving the Federal Reserve in a policy quandary, according to the central bank's most recent Beige Book report.
Growth was "modest to moderate" during the period, the report said, repeating language the Fed used in the last release in October.
Manufacturing expanded, particularly in autos and tech, while employment "showed a modest increase or was unchanged" throughout the Fed's districts.
Investors were examining the report for clues as to whether the Fed may begin to reduce the pace of its monthly asset purchases—quantitative easing—but the Beige Book offered little direction.
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Markets, though, took some encouragement from the report, lifting stocks a bit off their lows for the day.