US stocks end mixed amid Fed Beige Book

New York: US stocks closed mixed on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 eclipsing Tuesday's closing records, as investors digested the newly-released Federal Reserve's Beige Book. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 24.45 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 18,372.12. The S&P 500 edged up 0.29 point, or 0.01 per cent, to 2,152.43. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 17.09 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 5,005.73. According to the Fed Beige Book released in the afternoon, reports from the 12 Federal Reserve districts indicated that economic activity has expanded in nine of the districts since the previous Beige Book report and contacts in Boston were described as upbeat. Analysts thought that the Beige Book showed US economy was growing steadily, but not at a pace where the Fed would feel comfortable raising rates in the near future. Meanwhile, oil prices were also in focus, which plunged about 4 per cent on Wednesday following previous day's solid gains, as official data showed a smaller-than-expected US crude inventory draw for last week. On the economic front, US import prices increased 0.2 per cent in June after rising 1.4 per cent in May, while prices for US exports rose 0.8 per cent in June following an advance of 1.2 per cent in May, the Labour Department announced on Wednesday. Overseas, European equities also finished narrowly mixed on Wednesday. German benchmark DAX index at Frankfurt Stock Exchange inched down 0.33 per cent, while French benchmark index CAC 40 increased 0.09 per cent. In Asia, Tokyo shares rose for a third straight day on Wednesday, reaching a roughly one-month high, due to market expectations of fiscal stimulus measures taken by the government. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 0.84 per cent to 16,231.43 points.