The S&P 500 index and Dow industrials closed higher on Wednesday, barely missing a finish at record closing highs as investors parsed the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book showing the U.S. economy is growing at a modest to moderate pace, but remains under pressure from inflation and labor shortages. Strong third quarter corporate earnings are helping investors overcome some doubts about the impact of the coronavirus delta variant, supply-chain disruptions and the Federal Reserve’s likely move to start withdrawing some of its easy-money policies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
close 0.4% higher at 35,609, missing its Aug. 16 closing high at 35,625.40. The S&P 500 index
closed up 0.4% to end at around 4,536, coming within a hair’s breadth of its Sept. 2 closing high at 4,536.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index
however, ended down slightly, less than 0.1% to end at about 15,121, ending its win streak at five straight sessions. Investors were focused on results from electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc.
which rolled out after Wednesday’s close. Meanwhile, the Fed’s latest Beige Book survey of economic conditions released Wednesday pointed to a U.S. economy that still is growing at a solid pace, but labor shortages and supply-chain bottlenecks that have been restraining growth and triggering higher inflation.