Upbeat data fail to support Dow


WALL Street stocks slid yesterday despite a report that bolstered hopes that the US central bank may not need to raise interest rates to keep inflation under control. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 45.79 points to close at 7,039.37, having recovered from a loss of more than 74 points.

The Federal Reserve's "Beige Book", released yesterday, showed that the US economy's surprising vigour had continued to create jobs, but that the resulting competition for workers had not led to pronounced wage increases - a key force behind inflation.

The Beige Book will serve as the basis for the Fed's meeting later this month on interest rate strategy.

With most economic readings coming in stronger than expected, many analysts still expect the central bank to raise interest rates.

Declines outnumbered advances by more than a five to three margin on the New York Stock Exchange.