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Stock Market Edges Higher; Dow Gains 5.94

From Times Wire Services

The stock market edged higher today, as oil prices appeared to stabilize at lower levels reached last week and interest rates slipped.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 5.94 at 2,565.59. In the broader market, advancing stocks led decliners by a 3-2 margin. Volume on the New York Stock Exchange was about 177 million shares.

There was continuing hope that the Bush Administration’s offer to discuss the Middle East crisis with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein might avert a war.

That announcement had triggered a sharp decline in crude oil prices at the end of last week and prices regained only a fraction of that ground today.

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Analysts also said the market opened strongly in the wake of gains on overseas markets and in bond futures trading overnight.

The rise in the Dow Jones average was held in check by AT&T;, which fell 2 1/8 to 30 after offering to acquire NCR Corp. in a $6-billion stock swap. AT&T; was the most actively traded issue on the NYSE.

NCR was the second most active, surging 26 1/2 to 82 1/4. The AT&T; offer was $90 a share, but NCR indicated it wanted to remain independent.

News of the AT&T; bid helped the overall market. Such large acquisition bids have become rare in the last year.

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