The Dow Jones industrial average rallied to new high Wednesday, blowing past the record set just the day before, after a Federal Reserve survey showed moderate expansion of the U.S. economy for the first two months of the year. The "Beige Book" survey noted that 10 of the Fed's 12 banking districts reported moderate or modest growth, while the Boston and Chicago districts reported slow growth.
The gains on Wall Street were also fueled by a positive jobs report. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that private employers added 198,000 jobs in February. The figure suggests that Friday's February employment report from the U.S. government may come in above economists' forecasts.
The Dow rose 0.3 percent to close at 14,296.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.1 percent to 1,541.46. The Nasdaq fell less than 0.1 percent to 3,222.36.
Benchmark oil contract for April delivery was down 14 cents to $90.29 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 39 cents to finish at $90.43 on the Nymex on Wednesday.
In currencies, the euro was unchanged at $1.2994 from late Wednesday in New York. The dollar fell to 93.88 yen from 94.06 yen.
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