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Dow Slips in Abbreviated Yule Session

From Times Wire Services

Stock prices fell today in a holiday-shortened session that was one of the slowest in years.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12.37 points to close at 2,621.29.

Only 57.2 million shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, where declining shares outpaced advances by an 8-5 margin. The volume figure, if it holds, would be the slowest session since Dec. 26, 1986.

The market closed two hours early at 2 p.m. EST. “It’s a foolish day to have the exchange open,” one trader said.

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Stock prices were pressured by a weak bond market and fears of unease in the Middle East and Soviet Union.

Joseph Di Chiacchio, a senior trader at Sanford C. Bernstein, said stocks were pressured early in the day by higher oil prices sparked by a comment made by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein over the weekend.

Hussein said in an interview with Spanish television that Tel Aviv would be his armed forces’ first target if war broke out.

Although European oil traders said little business was done today, February oil futures ended on London’s International Petroleum Exchange at $26.80 a barrel, a rise of $1.02 from Friday’s close.

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There was no U.S. oil trading, as the New York Mercantile Exchange was closed.


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