Stock prices slumped and trading volume on Wall Street hit its lowest level in nearly two years Friday in a session squeezed in between the Thanksgiving holiday and a weekend.
The market’s drop was concentrated in the first half hour of the session, prompted by expectations of rising world oil prices. After that, prices drifted aimlessly and activity turned very thin.
The Dow Jones index of 30 industrials fell 17.60 points to 2,074.68, finishing the week with a net gain of 12.27.
Declining issues outnumbered advances by about 3 to 2 in nationwide trading of New York Stock Exchange-listed stocks, with 520 up, 783 down and 520 unchanged.
Volume on the floor of the Big Board came to 72.09 million shares, down from 112.01 million Wednesday and the lightest total since a 48.86 million-share day on Dec. 26, 1986.
Nationwide, consolidated volume in NYSE-listed issues, including trades in those stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, totaled 85.46 million shares.
The session after Thanksgiving is usually one of the quietest days of the year on Wall Street as many market participants take a long holiday weekend.
This time, however, those traders who were present responded early in the session to the news of a tentative agreement by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on production quotas aimed at shoring up oil prices.
Oil company stocks benefited from expectations of greater cohesion in the OPEC cartel, which should support crude prices. Amoco rose 1 1/2 to 73 1/8; Atlantic Richfield Co. rose 2 1/4 to 80 1/4; Unocal Corp. rose 1 3/4 to 38, and Amerada Hess Corp. rose 1 1/4 to 30 1/2.
Gold shares also rose on the reasoning that higher oil means higher inflation and that will spur demand for gold. ASA Ltd. gained 2 1/8 to 39 5/8.
But shares in airline and other companies that have high fuel costs tumbled. UAL Corp. fell 2 to 103 1/2; AMR Corp. fell 1/2 to 49 3/4, and Delta Air Lines fell 7/8 to 47.
Losers among the blue chip industrials included International Business Machines, down 2 at 116, and General Electric, down 5/8 at 43 3/4. Large blocks of 10,000 or more shares traded on the NYSE totaled 1,399, compared to 2,388 on Wednesday.
In Tokyo, stocks closed firmer on a late round of buying, but volume for the full day was moderate. The Nikkei index of 225 issues rose 66.62 points to close at 29,406.65.