Hussein Trip Spurs Dow 0.99 : Wall St.: Visit by Jordanian king gives people an excuse to buy.

From Associated Press

Stock prices closed slightly higher today in moderate trading, erasing earlier losses on favorable news from the Mideast.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials rose 0.99 point to 2,739.60.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by about 4 to 3 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 840 up, 614 down and 525 unchanged.

Big Board volume totaled 130.32 million shares, against 122.82 million in the previous session.

The NYSE's composite index rose 0.53 to 186.16.

At the American Stock Exchange, the market value index rose 1.94 to 339.94.

Jon Groveman, head of equity trading for the New York brokerage Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co., said the market rallied on the news that Jordan's King Hussein was on his way to the United States to confer with President Bush over the Iraqi situation.

"We've been inundated with negative headlines. With the market oversold like this, people are looking for an excuse to buy," Groveman said.

Analysts also said the stock market was boosted by gains in the bond market and a drop in oil futures prices, also due to Hussein's trip and the lack of any fresh bad news from the Middle East.

The markets received mixed signals on the economy this morning in a government report. The Commerce Department said July retail sales rose 0.1%, short of analysts' expectations. But the department revised upward the sales figure for June to a 1.1% increase from 0.5%.

Stock trading was reported to be near normal today following Monday's curtailed session that stemmed from a power outage in Manhattan's financial district.

The Treasury's benchmark 30-year bond was down 7/32 point, or $2.19 per $1,000 face amount, around midday. Its yield rose to 8.82% from 8.81% late Monday.

In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term and intermediate-term governments were down about 1/16 point and long-term issues were down from 1/8 point to 1/4 point, according to Telerate Inc., a financial information service.

The movement of a point is equivalent to a change of $10 in the price of a bond with a $1,000 face value.

The Shearson Lehman Brothers daily Treasury bond index, which measures price movements on all outstanding Treasury issues with maturities of a year or longer, fell 0.57 to 1,151.71.

Yields on three-month Treasury bills issued at auction Monday were unchanged at 7.66% as the discount was 1 basis point higher at 7.42%. Yields on newly issued six-month bills were unchanged at 7.70% as the discount was up 1 basis point to 7.32%. Yields on one-year bills rose to 7.66% as the discount gained 3 basis points to 7.17%.

The federal funds rate, the interest rate banks charge each other on overnight loans, was quoted at 8 1/8%, unchanged from late Monday.

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