NEW YORK (AP) _ Stock prices slipped lower in the first half-hour of trading today.

At 10 a.m., the Dow Jones average of 30 industrial stocks stood at 1,910.15, down 1.97 points from Monday.

Losers outpaced gainers by nearly 11-to-4, with 857 issues lower, 313 higher and 526 unchanged.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange stood at 17.54 million shares.

As the session opened, optimists were still looking for the traditional yearend rally, which usually happens between Christmas and New Years Day, when portfolio managers fill out their holdings with shares that have shown gains during the year.

They also have noted that there is a lot of cash on the sidelines waiting to jump in.

But with two trading days left, time was running short. Trading has been slow, with many Wall Streeters off on vacation.

Bears noted that the market stumbled Monday over the bond market's slump, which blamed on the falling dollar, fears of inflation - partly because of higher oil prices - and diminishing prospects for interest rate cuts.

In a morning report, the government said November's leading indicators index was up by 1.2 percent. The figure was stronger than expected and could add weight to arguments that interest-rate cuts may not be so near after all.

The NYSE's composite index down 0.35 at 139.54.

At the American Stock Exchange, the market value index was off 0.75 points at 261.64.

On Monday, the Dow Jones average of 30 industrials fell 18.28 to 1,912.12.

Losers outpaced gainers by nearly 3-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,184 issues down, 407 up and 429 unchanged.

Big Board volume totaled 99.80 million shares, against 48.86 million in the previous session.