Stocks Edge Lower In Light Trading
NEW YORK (AP) _ Stock prices remained stuck in a narrow trading range Tuesday in the lightest trading since the end of August.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrial stocks fell 2.84 to 2,082.33. That marked the average’s 11th straight finish inside the range of 2,080-2,101 points.
Trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 113.01 million shares, down from 116.42 million in the previous session and the lowest since Aug. 30, when 108.72 million shares changed hands.
Analysts and traders said the market was concerned by sluggishness in the bond market, which has failed to respond favorably to falling oil and gold prices and other indications that inflation pressure is easing.
Relatively high rates on short-term Treasury securities are giving investors an attractive and secure alternative to stocks and longer term securities. The three-month T-bill yielded about 7 1/2 percent Tuesday.
″There’s a lot of excuses to sit on your hands here, and I think people are using them,″ said Rodd Anderson, a vice president of equity trading at Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc.
On Tuesday, inflation signals were mixed. Oil prices dropped sharply before rebounding to finish the day only slightly lower, and gold prices rose.
Takeovers, restructurings and a stock buyback provided much of the interest in the day’s session.
Macmillan rose 1 3/8 to 88 5/8 . The publishing company said it had agreed to an amended acquisition offer by Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts of $90.05 a share. Later Maxwell Communications, which had offered a rival bid of $89 a share, said it was evaluating the situation.
SmithKline Beckman fell 2 to 46 1/8 . The company announced a pre-tax charge against earnings of $375 million to $400 million and cuts of 1,600 jobs as part of a major restructuring.
IBM rose 1 to 113 1/4 . The computer maker announced plans to buy back up to $2 billion worth of its shares, or roughly 3 percent at current prices.
Among other widely held stocks, AT&T fell 1/8 to 26, General Electric rose 1/4 to 42 7/8 and General Motors fell 1/2 to 73 5/8 . Exxon fell 1/ 2 to 44 3/8 , weighed down by the weakness in oil prices.
Advancing issues outnumbered declines by about 4-to-3 in nationwide trading of New York Stock Exchange-listed stocks, with 600 issues up, 779 down and 543 unchanged.
Nationwide, consolidated volume in NYSE-listed issues, including trading at regional exchanges and on the over-the-counter market, totaled 137.36 million shares.
The NYSE index fell 0.32 to 151.64.
Standard & Poor’s industrial index fell 0.95 to 307.45, and S&P’s 500-stock composite index fell 0.60 to 253.68.
At the American Stock Exchange, the market value index fell 0.34 to 298.40. The NASDAQ composite index for the over-the-counter market closed at 382.22, down 0.53.
The value of all U.S. stocks fell $5.48 billion, or 0.20 percent, according to the Wilshire Associates Equity Index.