NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks closed flat Wednesday, despite improving signs for the economy in data and the Federal Reserve's beige book, after President Obama called on lawmakers to push forward on health care reform.
The beige book, which examines anecdotal economic conditions throughout the country, was released at 2 p.m. EST. The report found that while economic activity remains slow, the 12 districts reported modest improvements that were more widespread than the central bank's last report. The beige book, which will be used as a reference for the Federal Open Market Committee's meeting on March 16, also found housing and labor markets remain weak, and price pressures continue to be subdued.
But in a speech at about the same time, President Obama urged Congress to schedule a final vote on a health care bill, saying that the debate over the legislation has run its course.
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