Beige Book Filled With Gray

The Federal Reserve's eight-times-a-year Beige Book report's out today, and economic conditions in the good ol' Eleventh District -- which is almost exclusively Dallas but also includes most of the state -- ain't so hot, says the Fed: "In October and the first half of November, the Eleventh District economy continued to decelerate from high levels. While there remains strength in the manufacturing, construction, finance and service sectors, there are also areas of softness. Many industries reported increased caution about the outlook."

Looks like home sales are up in Houston but down in Dallas and Fort Worth. And the drought's all but decimated cotton, pecan, peanut, soybean and sorghum crops. The entirety of the report can be read here, but as Christmas approaches, this one sentence leaps out: "Retail sales growth has been weaker than expected." I is no economist, but that can't be good. --Robert Wilonsky