Stock prices fell Wednesday, yielding to an afternoon round of selling in a mood of caution as Wall Street marked the first anniversary of the crash of 1987.
The Dow Jones index of 30 industrials, down more than 30 points at its low point in the last hour of trading, closed with a 22.58 loss at 2,137.27.
Declining issues outnumbered advances by about 4 to 3 in nationwide trading of New York Stock Exchange-listed stocks, with 561 up, 912 down and 502 unchanged.
Volume on the floor of the Big Board came to 186.35 million shares, up from 162.50 million in the previous session.
Most of the downward pressure on the market came in a brief period shortly before the close.
Analysts pointed to weakness in the bond market and some selling by professional traders engaged in computer program strategies.
Another apparent source of selling, brokers said, was a rumor making the rounds of Wall Street that the Washington Post would publish today a story potentially damaging to the presidential campaign of Vice President George Bush.
The Post denied the rumor. “There is no such story,” said Robert Kaiser, assistant managing editor-national news.
In addition, brokers said some investors were leery of making big commitments before the government’s scheduled report Friday on the consumer price index for September.
From its close of 1,738.74 on Black Monday, the Dow Jones industrial index has since recovered 398.53 points, or 22.9%. But by all accounts the memory of the big drop has dampened trading volume and enthusiasm for the market at a time when the economy is generally in strong shape.
Kraft climbed 2 1/8 to 90 3/8 and Philip Morris dropped 1 1/2 to 94 in their second session of trading since Philip Morris offered to acquire Kraft for $90 a share in an $11.4-billion transaction.
Besides Philip Morris, losers among the blue chips included General Electric, down 1/2 at 44 1/8; International Business Machines, down 2 at 122 3/8, and American Telephone & Telegraph, down 5/8 at 26 7/8.
In Tokyo, share prices rose in slow trading. “The market is up because New York hit a new post-crash high (Wednesday), but volume is not exciting,” a broker said. The Nikkei 225-share index, which has surpassed its pre-crash peaks, rose 151.69 points to 27,293.67.
Share prices also rose on the London Stock Exchange in trading dealers said was dominated by takeover speculation. The Financial Times 100-share index rose 5.5 points to 1,862.5. The market opened higher and the 100-share index went as high as 1,867.8.