Dow Drifts 13.12 Higher in Directionless Session

From Times Wire Services

Wall Street stocks drifted higher today, but analysts said the market still showed no clear direction, torn between the Persian Gulf crisis and possible progress on the federal budget gap.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 13.12 at 2,625.74.

Advancing issues outnumbered declines by about 5 to 4 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 783 up, 629 down and 529 unchanged.

Big Board volume totaled 129.89 million shares, against 113.22 million in the previous session.

The NYSE's composite index gained .70 to 177.09.

Traders said the market received some strength from hopes of an accord to reduce the huge federal deficit but remained cautious due to the Gulf crisis.

Analysts said traders did appear to respond positively to the tough line taken by President Bush in his televised comments Tuesday night on the crisis in the Persian Gulf.

Bush seemed to commit the United States to whatever measures might be necessary to thwart Iraq's effort to annex Kuwait.

However, investors were evidently in no rush to bid up stocks until they could see more evidence of the likely future course of the economy.

The monthly report due out Friday on the producer price index of finished goods is expected to show some of the unsettling effects of the surge in oil prices that followed Iraq's invasion on Aug. 2.

American Telephone & Telegraph was actively traded, down 3/4 at 30 3/8.

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