NEW YORK (AP) _ The stock market lost ground in quiet trading today as investors awaited developments in the negotiations toward a federal budget plan.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials dropped 17.57 to 1,904.68 by noontime on Wall Street.

Losers outnumbered gainers by about 3 to 2 in the overall tally of New York Stock Exchange-listed issues, with 520 up, 807 down and 482 unchanged.

Analysts said many traders were shying away from the market pending some sort of agreement between the Reagan administration and congressional leaders on measures to shrink the federal budget deficit.

Some prominent congressmen today characterized the plan that is shaping up as a disappointment.

Even assuming that progress is achieved on the deficit, brokers say the market might well remain sluggish.

A good many observers think it would be a sign of unhealthy complacency if stock prices were to rally sharply so soon after last month's crash.

At the same time, if the market is going to take more time to recover its balance, analysts say many investors feel little incentive to step in and buy.

Losers among the blue chips included International Business Machines, down 3/4 at 117; General Electric, down 1/2 at 44 1/2 ; Exxon, down 1/2 at 40, and Eastman Kodak, down 7/8 at 48.

Zayre dropped 1 3/8 to 17 1/2 . On Tuesday the company reported lower earnings for its latest fiscal quarter.

The NYSE's composite index of all its listed common stocks lost .70 to 135.51. On the American Stock Exchange, the market value index was down 1.43 at 245.99.

Volume on the Big Board came to 75.97 million shares at noontime, down from 79.38 million at the same point Tuesday.