FINANCIAL MARKETS : Stocks : Dow Slips 2.93 in Mixed Market
Takeover news and speculation provided almost all of the action as the stock market turned in a mixed showing Monday in quiet trading.
The Dow Jones index of 30 industrials slipped 2.93 to close at 2,301.87.
Advancing issues slightly outnumbered declines in nationwide trading of New York Stock Exchange-listed stocks, with 726 up, 694 down and 553 unchanged.
Big Board volume totaled 123.99 million shares, down from 156.95 million in the previous session. Nationwide, consolidated volume in NYSE-listed issues, including trades in those stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, totaled 150.61 million shares.
Most analysts in the financial world believe that economic growth has begun to slow since the early weeks of the year.
But hopes persisted among traders that that wouldn’t stop most companies from posting healthy earnings gains for the January-March quarter.
At the same time, market participants were looking ahead a bit warily to the monthly report on the producer price index, due from the government Friday.
Advance estimates call for the index, which serves as a gauge of inflationary pressures in the economy, to show a smaller rise than the 1% increases reported for January and February.
If those expectations aren’t fulfilled and the index comes in with another bigger-than-expected rise, brokers say, it would touch off talk of new credit tightening by the Federal Reserve.
Gulf & Western climbed 2 3/8 to 51 7/8 after the company’s announcement of plans to sell its Associates financial services business and to concentrate on entertainment and publishing.
Campbell Soup rose 4 7/8 to 38 1/4. After the death of John T. Dorrance Jr., former chairman and son of the company’s founder, some traders concluded that the company might sooner or later be sold.
Gordon Jewelry jumped 5 1/2 to 24. The company said it was studying various possible transactions, including a recapitalization or sale to some other party.
Silicon Systems gained 1 3/4 to 19 1/2. The company agreed to be acquired by TDK Corp. of Japan for $20 a share.
American Building Maintenance, which said it ended talks with a potential buyer, tumbled 5 1/2 to 31 7/8.
Exxon led the active list, down 3/4 at 42 under more of the selling pressure that has hit the stock since the oil spill last month near Valdez, Alaska.
None of the other 29 stocks that make up the Dow Jones industrials showed more than a fractional change.
The Wilshire index of 5,000 equities closed at 2,938.831, up 1.188 or 0.04, from Friday. Blocks of 10,000 or more shares traded on NYSE totaled 2,644, compared to 3,494 Friday.
The NYSE’s composite index of all its listed common stocks dipped 0.04 to 166.89.
Standard & Poor’s industrial index rose 0.18 to 342.48; its 500-stock composite index was down 0.05 at 297.11.
The NASDAQ composite index rose 0.43 to 411.14, its highest level since the crash in 1987; the American Stock Exchange index closed at 331.40, up 0.81.
In Tokyo, stock market investors stuck to the sidelines Monday on news that Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita will clarify his links with the scandal-ridden Recruit Co. before parliament Tuesday morning.
The 225-share Nikkei index finished down 186.03, or 0.56%, at 32,999.02 in very thin trading. The index rose 189.27 Friday.
Share prices also fell on the London Stock Exchange. The Financial Times 100-share index closed 20.7 points lower at 2,025.0.