Dow Up 14.82; Traders See Some Signs of Hope

From Associated Press

Stock prices gained ground in slow postholiday trading today amid some hopes that interest rates might soon decline.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, which fell 49.10 points last week, rebounded 14.82 points to 2,257.86.

Advancing issues outnumbered declines by about 5 to 4 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 773 up, 628 down and 537 unchanged.

Big Board volume totaled 112.96 million shares, against 153.75 million in the previous session.


The NYSE’s composite index rose .68 to 163.32.

The market has drawn some support lately from suggestions by analysts that the Federal Reserve may bide its time before deciding whether to tighten credit further.

Michael Boskin, chairman of President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in a weekend interview that he believes that interest rates are close to peaking. He predicted lower rates later in the year.

But worries have also increased of late that subsiding interest rates could be accompanied by a slowing of economic activity significant enough to qualify as a recession.


In some scripts being written on Wall Street, that would mean that corporate profits might also be peaking out.

Government bond prices dipped in light trading early today, partly because of fresh inflation fears caused by an oil price rally.

The Treasury’s benchmark 30-year bond was down 1/4 point, or $2.50 per $1,000 in face value. Its yield, which moves inversely to price, rose to 9.24% from 9.21% late Thursday, the last previous session because financial markets were closed for Good Friday.

Raymond W. Stone, chief financial economist of Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, said that bond prices headed down as soon as the market opened and that trading volume remained low.

He said strength in the energy markets may have depressed bonds by renewing worries about inflationary pressures building up in the economy.

Crude oil futures jumped today in reaction to the closure of an Alaskan harbor.

The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, traded at 9 7/8%, unchanged from late Thursday.