Investors have been defensive and anxious about how deeply the economy would fall before the Federal Reserve ends its tightening cycle. Markets found another clue Wednesday in the Fed's beige book, which investors read as signaling the end to the two-year campaign of rate hikes. The beige book reported "evidence that the pace of growth has slowed" and that consumer spending on retail goods weakened. Also, while labor markets tightened, the report said increases in both wages and prices of final goods and services remained modest. The beige book largely reiterated the emphasis of Ben Bernanke's July 19 congressional testimony and the June 29 FOMC minutes; both noted that the economy is moderating, evidenced by the deflating housing market and weaker consumer spending. "There seems little justification for a rate hike with such characterizations," wrote Anthony Crescenzi, Miller Tabak's chief fixed-income analyst, and a RealMoney.com contributor. The fed funds futures market immediately dropped the odds of an Aug. 8 rate hike to 40% from 54% prior to the beige book release. The fed funds futures market puts the likelihood of another rate hike in August, September or October at 64%, down from 74% prior to the beige book. The stock market's major averages attempted another late-day rally following the 2 p.m. release of the data, but this time it didn't hold. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.01% at 11,102.51, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.04% to 1268.40 and the Nasdaq fell 0.17% to 2070.46. Minor moves in the major averages aside, the pattern of stocks with disappointments being disproportionately punished continued, with names like Amazon.com ( AMZN), Norfolk Southern, ( NSC) and Corning ( GLW) suffering big declines, while UPS ( UPS) lost another 5.5% after Tuesday's disappointment . The Treasury market, meanwhile, was able to sustain its rally. The 10-year Treasury bond gained 8/32 to yield 5.03%, while the five-year bond gained 5/32 to yield 4.98%. The two-year Treasury note gained 3/32 to yield 5.06%.