The Federal Reserve's latest regional survey didn't have much to offer the bulls, providing instead a picture of a rather sluggish U.S. economy. Reports from the 12 Fed banks, presented in a document known as the beige book, suggest economic activity continued to expand in all districts in September and early October but at a slower pace than in August. Growth was similar to that observed in the last beige book in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis, but the economy grew at a weaker rate in the Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Richmond and San Francisco districts. The expansion was generally described as "moderate," "modest" or "mixed," the Fed said Wednesday. The latest beige book was prepared at the Dallas Fed and was based on information collected by Oct. 5. The report summarizes the views of business people and other contacts outside the central bank and is not meant as a commentary on what Fed officials think. Even though consumer spending rose, "reports were uneven and suggest growth was slower in September and early October than in August," the beige book stated. The manufacturing and service sectors continued to expand, but growth weakened, mostly for products and services related to home construction and real estate transactions. Several manufacturing and service firms reported that lighter domestic demand was offset by strong sales to global markets. The weak dollar has been benefiting U.S. exporters.