Stocks Gain in Light Trading; Dow Up 5.16 : Firm Dollar, Lower Oil Prices Give Market a Lift

From Times Wire Services

Wall Street stocks moved higher in very thin trading Monday as rising bond prices, falling oil and commodity prices and a firm dollar combined to give shares a small lift.

But traders said the market was still weighed down by fears that the Federal Reserve will tighten credit to slow the economy after a report Friday that employment surged in June.

The Dow index of 30 industrials rose 5.16 to 2,111.31.

Advancing issues slightly outnumbered declines in nationwide trading of New York Stock Exchange-listed stocks.

Volume on the floor of the Big Board came to 123.30 million shares, down from 136.07 million in the previous session.

"This was a very slow day. There's total complacency in the market; no one is motivated," said Robert Kahan, manager of stocks trading at Montgomery Securities.

A big drop in the Commodity Research Bureau index, a gauge of future inflation, failed to attract buyers to the stock market. The CRB index fell more than 6 percentage points on forecasts of rain over the parched Midwest.

Bond prices firmed on falling commodity and crude oil prices, which put investors' fears of inflation at bay. U.S. August crude fell 68 cents to $14.78 a barrel--its lowest level in 20 months--on reports that the glut of oil on world markets will not be soaked up for a long time.

Healthy Economy

Shares also were underpinned by the dollar's strength, which should whet foreign interest in U.S.-denominated assets. The dollar edged up to 1.8420 West German marks from 1.8415 despite intervention by the Fed and other central banks, which sold dollars in foreign exchange markets.

"The (stock) market was indecisive," said Eldon Grimm, an analyst with Birr Wilson Securities. "We had some good news on the CRB going way down, but on the other hand there were reports the Fed might tighten a bit in the aftermath of the employment figures."

Gary Ciminero, chief economist for Fleet/Norstar Financial Group, said, "It was strange for the market to react so hysterically to Friday's employment statistics." Ciminero said the data suggests a healthy economy and higher corporate profits, which should be good for the stock market. "But we seem to be looking only at the interest rate side of the equation," he said.

Many investors are waiting on the sidelines for the release of the May trade figures Friday, said Tom Ryan, head trader at Kidder Peabody. "People don't want to make their bets until they see the trade numbers."

Gainers among the blue chip stocks included International Business Machines, up 3/8 at 126 3/4; Philip Morris, up 1 1/8 at 86 1/2; General Electric, up 1/2 at 43 3/4, and Coca-Cola, up 5/8 at 37 1/2.

But American Telephone & Telegraph slipped 1/8 to 26 3/8; General Motors was down 3/8 at 77 3/8, and Eastman Kodak lost 1/8 to 44 5/8.

Careercom was one of the day's biggest percentage losers, falling 1 5/8 to 13. The company said it had ended preliminary talks about a possible merger, although its investment bankers continue to study ways to "maximize shareholder value."

Unocal, discussed as a possible takeover candidate by analysts quoted in the New York Times, climbed 1 5/8 to 37 1/8.

Nikkei Index Higher

Sun Electric rose 1 1/8 to 18. An investment group whose takeover advances have been resisted by Sun said it was interested in acquiring the company with or without the approval of Sun's management.

The Wilshire Associates' index of more than 5,000 actively traded stocks increased $2.50 billion, or 0.09%, in value.

Nationwide, consolidated volume in NYSE-listed issues, including trades in those stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, totaled 143.83 million shares.

The NYSE's composite index of all its listed common stocks added 0.21 to 153.02.

Standard & Poor's industrial index rose 0.53 to 312.81, and S&P;'s 500-stock composite index was up 0.53 at 270.55.

The NASDAQ composite index dipped 0.18 to 394.15; the American Stock Exchange index closed at 308.58, down 0.44.

Tokyo share prices closed higher Monday, but concern about the direction of Japanese yen/dollar rates dissuaded investors from taking major positions, brokers said.

The Nikkei 225-share index gained 68.91 to close at 27,985.99.

Prices on the London Stock Exchange slipped Monday as traders awaited several British and U.S. economic reports due this week.

The Financial Times 100-share index fell 0.4 point, to 1,876.8.

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