The stock market was mixed Wednesday in a drifting pre-holiday session marked by weakness in some of the blue chips and autos.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials dropped 7.62 to 1,326.39, while other, broader market measures painted a picture of steady to slightly lower stock prices.
Volume on the New York Stock Exchange tailed off to 98.41 million shares from 111.07 million Tuesday.
Analysts had been looking for a relatively quiet session, with many investors getting an early start on the Independence Day holiday.
Brokers also noted that there was little in the economic news to stir up trading interest. On Friday, the Labor Department is due to issue employment and unemployment figures for June. Wall Streeters expect the data to shed some new light on the question of whether economic growth is reviving, especially in the troubled manufacturing sector.
Auto issues were a notable weak spot on news of sharply lower car sales in late June.
CBS climbed 1 1/8 to 118 5/8 and led the active list on turnover of more than 2 million shares. The company, seeking to thwart a takeover bid by broadcasting executive Ted Turner said it began a $150-a-share offer to buy about 21% of its outstanding common stock.
Turner Broadcasting System countered with a statement saying that it planned to pursue its acquisition effort "vigorously."
In the auto group, General Motors fell 1 3/4 to 71 3/4, Ford Motor 1/2 to 45 and Chrysler 1/2 to 35 7/8. Reports from domestic car makers showed a net decline of 11.8% at a daily rate in sales for the last 10 days of June.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber, which estimated a 25% decline in its earnings for the second quarter, fell 1 5/8 to 28.
MCA rose 3 to 68 and Sperry gained 1/8 to 53 3/8, both in active trading. The two companies have been the subject of takeover speculation lately.
Squibb jumped 3 to 67. The company said it got clearance from the Food and Drug Administrative to expand significantly the market for its drug Capoten for treatment of hypertension.
In the daily tally on the Big Board, advancing issues slightly outnumbered declines.
Nationwide turnover in NYSE-listed issues, including trades in those stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, totaled 116.11 million shares.
Large blocks of 10,000 or more shares traded on the NYSE totaled 1,845, compared to 2,265 on Tuesday.
In the bond market, prices were narrowly mixed as short-term interest rates mostly rose.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term governments slipped 1/32 point, intermediate maturities fell 2/32 point and long-term issues inched up 1/32 point, according to the investment firm of Salomon Bros. 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 were little changed, as were general obligations and revenue bonds in the tax-exempt municipal market, Salomon Bros. said. Trading was reported to be light in both markets.
Yields on three-month Treasury bills rose 7 basis points to 7.01%. Six-month bills climbed 4 basis points to 7.07%, and one-year bills were up 4 basis points at 7.21%. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.
Yields on 30-year Treasury bonds edged down to 10.43% from 10.44% on Tuesday.
The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, traded at 7.75%, down from 7.875% on Tuesday.
All stock and commodity markets, banks, government offices and many businesses will be closed today in observance of Independence Day. New York commodity markets will be closed Friday as well. There will be a smaller than usual Business section Friday combined with the Sports section in Part III.