Federal Reserve offers a glimmer of hope

The Federal Reserve today offered investors a glimmer of hope that the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression may be coming to an end. But it's hardly time to pop the champagne corks.

Data received by the Fed since the April meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee shows that the pace of economic contraction is slowing, according to an FOMC statement. That jives with data collected from other sources including the housing sector which is showing signs of improvement.

"Conditions in financial markets have generally improved in recent months," the statement said. "Household spending has shown further signs of stabilizing but remains constrained by ongoing job losses, lower housing wealth, and tight credit. "