The stock market managed a slight rise Thursday, in a day most noted for the first after-hours trading in the history of the nation's biggest stock exchange.
The Dow Jones industrial average, which fell earlier in the day, closed up 3.13 points at 2,965.12.
In the broader market, advancing issues totaled 793, compared to 726 declining and 529 unchanged.
The most important aspect of the day was that the 4 p.m. closing bell constituted a brief respite instead of the end of the day.
Under the new program, the Big Board is offering two overlapping, albeit limited, sessions that lengthen NYSE trading by up to 1 1/4 hours.
In session one, which starts at 4:15 p.m., traders can cross blocks of stocks at the 4 p.m. closing price until 5 p.m. Eastern time.
The second session, which starts at 4 p.m., trades baskets of stocks valued at $1 million or more. That trading finishes at 5:15 p.m.
The new hours are an effort to win back trading now done overseas or through third-market trading that occurs off the exchange.
New York Stock Exchange volume at 4 p.m. totaled 144.87 million shares, down from Wednesday's 165.72 million. Volume for the fixed-price session was 769,100 shares and 1.561 million for the basket session. Big Board volume for all sessions was 147.2 million shares.
Before Thursday's session, the Dow average had fallen in six of the previous seven sessions. The Dow tumbled about 24 points Wednesday, hit by rising interest rates as investors worried that a strong pick-up in the economy could lead to a burst of inflation.
"I suspect that after the declines we've had, which have been sharper in most stocks than in the Dow, the bruises are beginning to heal," said Don Hays of Wheat First Securities.
The stock market's recent losses come after the Dow hit a record high close June 3 of 3,035.33, fueled by signs that the economy was recovering.
But profit taking and rising interest rates triggered a selloff from the highs.
"Economic data is not driving the market. That's only the excuse," A. G. Edwards & Sons analyst Al Goldman said. "The reality is that a lot of cash has been invested, interest rates are high and people feel, 'We've been in a consolidation for four months so why rush (to buy stocks)?' "
Goldman said the market has been consolidating its gains for four months, rarely breaking that pattern.
Among the market highlights:
* Glaxo Holdings climbed 1 1/8 to 41 7/8. Smith Barney recommended the company, saying sales of Glaxo's best-selling ulcer drug, Zantac, would grow despite competition from Merck & Co.'s Prilosec.
* Merck's drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday for extended use in the United States. Merck fell 3/4 to 115 5/8.
* Among actively traded blue chips, American Express rose 7/8 to 24 1/4, Philip Morris eased 1/8 to 65 3/8, IBM dropped 7/8 to 100 5/8, and AT&T; rose 1/4 to 36 5/8.
* PS Group Inc. was the session's biggest loser, dropping 6 1/2 to 57. The aircraft leasing and fuel distribution company postponed a planned common stock offering, citing recent volatility in the price of its stock.
* Micropolis dropped 2 7/8 to 7 1/8 a share in over-the-counter trading as investors reacted to Micropolis' projection that its second-quarter earnings would be lower than 20 cents a share reported in the year-ago period.
Stock prices closed higher in Japan but retreated in Frankfurt, Germany and London. In Tokyo, the key 225-share Nikkei average closed 325.48 points higher at 24,808.17. Frankfurt's 30-share DAX average fell 8.21 points to close at 1,692.63, and London's Financial Times 100-share average fell 5.6 points to close at 2,514.6.
Bond prices closed higher on in heavy trading after recovering from an early plunge on news of higher inflation.
The Treasury's 30-year bond ended up 11/32 point, or $3.44 per $1,000 in face amount. The bond's yield was 8.51%, down from 8.55% late Wednesday.
The market had a wild ride when the Labor Department reported its producer price index shot up 0.6% in May, the biggest gain in seven months. The yield of the 30-year bond quickly hit 8.62% after the report, said Kevin Logan, chief economist for Swiss Bank Corp. in New York.
Generally, government bond prices fall and yields rise on news of rising inflation, which decreases the value of fixed-income securities.
The wholesale price increase, concentrated in the tobacco and energy sectors, would place inflation at the wholesale level of 7.2%, far greater than what many economists had expected.
Also pushing prices lower was another government report showing claims for unemployment benefits fell for the week ended June 1 and a 1% rise in retail sales in May. Both reports pointed to an improving economy, which depresses bond prices and raises yields as hopes fade for a further cuts in interest rates.
The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, rose to 5.866% from 5% late Wednesday.
The dollar rallied to a 19-month high against the German mark amid the fresh evidence that the U.S. economy is recovering from a nearly yearlong recession.
With optimism growing that an economic rebound was under way, the dollar hit a peak of 1.8090 marks in the morning before edging back at the close to 1.7985 marks in New York. It was still up from Wednesday's close at 1.7905 marks.
The dollar eased slightly against the Japanese yen, however, closing at 141.25, compared to 141.45 yen at Wednesday's close.
The dollar settled off its peaks against the mark after a bout of profit taking in late New York trading on rumors the central banks had intervened to stem the dollar's rise. There was no confirmation.
"People were very nervous when the dollar got above its previous highs," said John McCarthy, chief dealer at Algemene Bank Nederland. "The market behaved as if there were intervention."
Other late dollar rates in New York, compared to late Wednesday's rates, included: 1.5390 Swiss francs, up from 1.5310; 6.1030 French francs, up from 6.0720; 1,338.00 Italian lire, up from 1,330.50, and 1.1434 Canadian dollars, down from 1.1438.
Most grain and soybean futures prices fell as traders discounted a Soviet food aid package and focused instead on favorable Midwestern crop weather and a mixed bag of planting estimates.
On other commodity markets, oil futures retreated; precious metals were mixed, and livestock and meat futures were mixed.
Wheat futures settled 1 cent to 3.50 cents lower, with the contract for delivery in July at $2.98 a bushel; corn was 2 cents lower to 2 cents higher, with July at $2.4075 a bushel; oats were 1.50 to 2.50 cents lower, with July at $1.1525 a bushel, and soybeans were unchanged to 4 cents lower, with July at $5.715 a bushel.
Oil prices fell on the New York Mercantile Exchange amid news that more Iranian crude will be coming to the United States.
The market opened higher in a follow-through to Wednesday's buying, but oil dropped after the market learned that Chevron Corp. agreed to buy an anticipated 1 million to 3 million barrels of Iranian crude, pending federal approval.
Light, sweet crude settled 11 to 36 cents lower, with July at $19.71 a barrel.
Gold and silver futures did little on New York's Commodity Exchange as a decline in new unemployment claims supported the idea that the recession is ending.
Gold futures ended unchanged to 20 cents lower, with June at $370.20 an ounce; silver was 2.3 to 2.4 cents higher, with July at $4.522 an ounce.