The stock market posted a moderate gain today, encouraged by falling oil prices as well as by optimism over the Persian Gulf crisis.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials rose 17.58 to 2,632.43.
Advancing issues outnumbered declines by about 9 to 5 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 971 up, 512 down and 492 unchanged.
Big Board volume totaled 134.24 million shares, against 127.65 million in the previous session.
The NYSE’s composite index gained 1.51 to 177.77.
Over the last couple of sessions, analysts say, stocks appear to have found an equilibrium level pending further events in the showdown that has followed Iraq’s Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.
Most oil ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on increased production quotas to compensate for the absence of shipments from Iraq and Kuwait.
The news sent oil prices lower. Crude oil futures for October delivery fell more than $2 a barrel to the neighborhood of $25.70 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
But enthusiasm over that development was muted by uncertainty over how much lasting effect the OPEC plan might have on the worldwide oil market.
Doubts persisted, too, about the outlook for the domestic economy. The Commerce Department reported that its index of leading economic indicators was unchanged in July.
U.S. Treasury bond prices rose slightly in early trading today, regaining some of Tuesday’s losses after the government released more pessimistic news about the nation’s economic picture.
The bellwether 30-year issue was up around 1/8 point, or $1.25 per $1,000 face amount, by midday, after losing around $5 on Tuesday.
Its yield, which moves inversely to the price, fell to 9.01% from 9.04%.
The Commerce Department reported today that its index of leading economic indicators--a key forecasting gauge of future economic activity--was flat in July.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term governments rose between 1/16 point and 7/32 point, intermediate maturities rose around 1/16 point and long-term issues were up around 1/8 point, the Telerate Inc. financial information service reported.
Yields on three-month Treasury bills fell to 7.70% as the discount fell 1 basis point to 7.47%. Yields on six-month bills fell to 7.83% as the discount fell 1 basis point to 7.45%. Yields on one-year bills fell to 7.87% as the discount fell 3 basis points to 7.34%.
The federal funds rate, the interest rate banks charge each other on overnight loans, was quoted at 8%, unchanged from late Tuesday.