Stock prices edged higher in quiet trading Tuesday with most of the gain coming in the opening hour.
Retail, paper, drug and chemical issues paced the advances, while airline and precious-metals stocks retreated.
Prices opened ahead and then steadied for most of the session. The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, for example, gained 4.82 to 1,322.47 after drifting between 1,320 and 1,323 during the final three hours.
About four stocks rose for each three that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.
While the market managed to retain its early gains, it also displayed the lack of conviction that has dominated the past few sessions. Some brokers said they look for the trend to continue at least until after Labor Day.
Big Board volume rose to 82.14 million shares from 70.29 million on Monday.
"Obviously, for any rally to get very far we are going to need some pickup in volume, and that is not easy in this pre-Labor Day week," Newton F. Zinder, senior vice president of E. F. Hutton, wrote in his daily market commentary.
Daily volume on the NYSE has not climbed above 100 million shares since Aug. 8 and in the past two weeks has averaged about 83.5 million shares.
AMR, the parent of American Airlines, tumbled 2 1/8 to 45 5/8 in heavy trading and led other airline issues lower after the brokerage firm Prudential-Bache Securities cut AMR's third-quarter and full-year earnings estimates.
Pan American slipped 1/8 to 7 7/8, UAL dropped 1 to 56 1/2 and Delta skidded 1 to 46 1/2.
The declines helped pushed the Dow Jones transportation average down 2.23 to 688.55.
Revlon fell 1 5/8 to 44 3/4 and topped the NYSE's active list. The company plans to buy back 10 million of its common shares to curb a takeover bid by Pantry Pride, which lost to 6 7/8.
Portec plummeted 5 to 17 1/2, or 22%. The company said it delayed its proposed $23.50-a-share leveraged buy-out because of a possible drop in second-half 1985 results.
On the upside, Cessna Aircraft jumped 4 3/4 to 25, a 52-week high. Cessna officials weren't immediately available to comment on the gain.
GAF Raises Stake
Union Carbide rose to 54 3/4 after GAF said it raised its stake in the company to 7.1% from 5.6%. GAF slipped 1/8 to 32 1/8.
Large blocks of 10,000 or more shares traded on the NYSE totaled 1,735, compared to 1,168 on Monday.
Bond prices rose in quiet trading and short-term interest rates drifted lower.
The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, traded at 7.813%, off from 7.875% on Monday.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term governments rose 1/8 point, intermediate maturities were up between 1/8 point and 3/8 point and long-term issues gained up to 1/2 point, according to the investment firm of Salomon Bros.
In corporate trading, industrials rose 1/2 point and utilities gained 3/8 point in light activity. Among tax-exempt municipal bonds, general obligations rose point and revenue bonds were up 3/8 point in moderate trading.
Yields on three-month Treasury bills dipped 1 basis point to 7.05%. Six-month bills fell 3 basis points to 7.18%, and one-year bills were off 1 basis point at 7.38%.
Yields on 30-year Treasury bonds fell to 10.38% from 10.45% on Monday.