The stock market finished mixed today after an early rally faded.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials dropped 4.20 to 1,260.71.
But advances outpaced declines by about four to three on the New York Stock Exchange.
Big Board volume totaled 99.78 million shares, against 101.04 million in the previous session.
The NYSE's composite index rose 0.05 to 103.98.
At the American Stock Exchange, the market-value index was up 2.12 at 228.10.
Stocks had the credit markets working in their favor, with interest rates down considerably for both Treasury bills and bonds.
However, the rally in stocks that began on Wednesday faltered as the session progressed.
Analysts said investing institutions were apparently intent on selling some blue-chip issues as they ready their portfolios for first-quarter reports.
Reagan Visits the NYSE
The day began with what was billed as the first visit ever to the New York Stock Exchange trading floor by an American president in office. President Reagan called for support for his budget plan, and then rang the bell sounding the start of trading.
Bond prices rose in early trading as the Treasury Department neared the end of a week of heavy borrowing.
Yields on 30-year Treasury bonds fell to 11.75% at midday from 11.82% late Wednesday.
Short-term rates were mixed.
The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, traded at 8.875% in the early going, up from 8.25% late Wednesday. But yields on Treasury bills fell more than a tenth of a percentage point.
Later today, the Treasury was to sell $4.25 billion in 20-year, one-month bonds, ending a $16.25 billion end-of-the-quarter refinancing operation.
On Wednesday, the government sold $5.75 billion in seven-year notes at an average annual yield of 11.85%. That compared with an 11.67% yield at the previous auction of four-year notes in December and was the highest yield since the 12.34% of last October.
Industrial Bonds Higher
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term and intermediate governments rose about point in early trading and long-term issues were up point to 1/2 point, according to the investment firm of Salomon Bros. Inc.
The movement of a 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 rose point in moderate trading.
Among tax-exempt municipal bonds, general obligations rose 1/8 point in light activity and revenue bonds were up point in moderate trading.
Yields on three-month Treasury bills dropped 14 basis points to 8.20%.