Stocks edged higher today in generally lackluster trading, but it was enough to give the market with its first gain in five sessions.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials gained 3.20 to 1,271.75 after having been up as much as 6 points.
Gainers overall outpaced declines eight to seven on the New York Stock Exchange, whose composite index rose 0.44 to 104.03.
Big Board volume swelled to 92.84 million shares from 84.11 million in the previous session, which was the lowest turnover in more than two months.
At the American Stock Exchange, the market-value index fell 1.45 to 224.02.
Upturn Lost Steam
The only notable attempt at a sustained advance came from the market's blue chips in afternoon trading. But the upturn lost steam in the final hour.
The market's recent slide, and the accompanying sluggish volume, reflects investors' confusion toward the outlook for the economy and the subsequent effect on stocks, analysts said.
There is speculation that the economy's expansion is beginning to slow, which might help reduce upward pressure on interest rates. The same slowdown, however, could crimp corporate earnings.
Bond prices slipped in early trading as short-term interest rates reversed course and moved higher.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term governments fell 6/32 point, while intermediate and long-term issues were each down 10/32 point, according to the investment firm of Salomon Bros. Inc.
The movement of a full point is equivalent to a change of $10 in the price of a bond with a $1,000 face value.
In corporate trading, industrials and utilities edged down point in light trading, Salomon Bros. said. It said among tax-exempt municipal bonds, general obligations were off point and revenue bonds were down 1/8 point.