The stock market staged a strong, broad advance to a record high today, but failed to gain a foothold above 1,300 in the Dow Jones industrial average.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, which traded as high as the 1,304-1,305 range at mid-session, closed with a 15.35-point gain at 1,299.36.
That topped the previous closing peak of 1,297.92 reached on Feb. 13, and brought the average's gain for the week to 23.52 points.
Advances outpaced declines by more than two to one on the New York Stock Exchange.
Big Board volume totaled 139.87 million shares, against 100.72 million in the previous session.
The NYSE's composite index gained 1.11 to 106.04, just short of its Feb. 13 peak of 106.08.
At the American Stock Exchange, the market-value index was up 1.05 at 228.48.
Analysts said new evidence of strength in the economy helped inspire investors.
Before the market opened, the Commerce Department reported that the index of leading economic indicators rose 1.7% last month.
It was the largest increase in the index, which is designed to detect future economic trends, since it jumped 1.9% in June, 1983. The latest figure came in well above most advance estimates on Wall Street.
The news drew a mixed response in the credit markets, where interest rates lately have been rising on fears of a tighter Federal Reserve credit policy and the prospect of increased loan demand in an economy growing faster than had been anticipated.
But stock traders evidently read it as a positive portent for corporate profits in the months ahead.
The closely watched federal funds rate--the charge on overnight loans between banks--traded at 8.6875%, down from 8.125% late Thursday.
Bond prices edged higher in early trading, continuing their recovery from a sharp decline earlier in the week.
Yields on 30-year Treasury bonds fell to 11.84% from 11.90% late Thursday. They had flirted with 12% late Wednesday.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term governments were off 1/8 point, intermediate maturities were up point and long-term issues were up as much as 1/2 point, according to the investment firm of Salomon Bros. Inc.
In corporate trading, industrials and utilities were up point in light trading. Among tax-exempt municipal bonds, general obligations and revenue bonds were each up point in light activity.
Yields on three-month Treasury bills rose 3 basis points to 8.55%. Six-month bills were unchanged at 8.82% and one-year bills were unchanged at 8.97%.