The Dow Jones Industrials Average surged to a fresh high in early trading in New York, after the US Labour Department revealed that producer prices had fallen for the fifth consecutive time. The 0.3 per cent drop is the first time that producer prices have fallen for the fifth time in a row in 45 years and that helped to push the Dow to a record high of 7,776.16, up 64.69 points at noon. Hong Kong stocks in London also moved strongly ahead on the news, with the Hang Seng London Reference Index closing up 129.8 points at 14,215.2. The fall had been completely unexpected, with the consensus view among economists that they would show a rise of 0.1 per cent. 'Market makers see this as evidence that stocks are still going to be in demand, and so they have raised their prices,' one trader said. Early next month the interest rate setting US Federal Reserve committee will meet and the latest data suggests that interest rates will not rise, helping to keep equity markets buoyant. Strong buying activity was also seen in the bond market, where the 30-year Treasury bond yielded 6.71 per cent.