Dow hits fresh high as Beige Book cheers

THE DOW Jones Index surged to a second consecutive record high last night as a report from the Federal Reserve suggested economic conditions in the US were improving, and a House vote assuaged fears over a potential government shutdown at the end of this month.

The Dow climbed closed up 42.47 points to finish the day at 14,296.24 – erasing Wednesday’s closing high a mere 24 hours after it was set – and suggesting investors were confident of a strengthening US economy.

A cautiously optimistic outlook on the US economy in the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report, which examines economic conditions across 12 Federal Reserve districts, helped buoy investor optimism.

The central bank said economic activity “expanded at a modest to moderate pace” since its previous report on 16 January.

The report came as the US House of Representatives passed legislation to keep federal funds flowing to government agencies through 30 September, seeking to avert shutdowns that otherwise would have begun at the end of this month when current funding expires. The House bill was passed by 267 votes to 151.