The stock market finished mixed, despite gains in the Dow industrials and a record close for a key index of smaller stocks. Overseas, German, British and Hong Kong stocks hit new highs.
* Silver zoomed more than 20 cents an ounce in a speculative rally ignited by Middle Eastern options dealings. Gold also gained.
* Bond yields held mostly steady, awaiting Friday's U.S. employment report for September.
Despite strength in foreign markets overnight, U.S. markets displayed a cautious tone for a third consecutive day.
The Dow industrials finished up 11.73 points at 3,598.99, but weakness in energy and drug stocks pulled the New York Stock Exchange composite and Standard & Poor's 500 indexes lower.
Smaller stocks, however, continued their powerful rally that began in mid-July. The Russell 2000 index gained 1.27 points to a record 254.34.
Many investors are waiting for third-quarter corporate earnings reports, which will be released in a torrent starting next week.
One encouraging preview came from Goodyear: The tire giant said it expects to report earnings up about 45% from a year ago. Goodyear stock rose 1 1/8 to a record 46 1/2.
John McDevitt, economist with 3M Co., said recent concern about the economy was overdone and that quarterly earnings will look good when all is said and done.
"Companies have greater confidence in their ability to survive recession, to grow in a slow-growth economy," he said.
Meanwhile, earnings concerns are apparent in few foreign markets, where stocks continue to push ahead--even in recession-wracked Europe. Investors are betting on renewed growth in 1994.
In London, the FTSE-100 stock index jumped 15.6 points to a record 3,100.8, eclipsing the old record of 3,100.6 set in August.
In Frankfurt, the DAX index hit a new high for the second day in a row, rising 14.32 points to 1,987.05 partly on news of higher earnings at insurance giant Allianz Holding.
In Sydney, the All-Ordinaries index surged 20.3 points, or 1%, to a six-year high of 2,018.8. Traders said money continues to flow in from foreign investors, particularly Americans.
Likewise, in Hong Kong, foreign buyers helped power the Hang Seng index up 172.09 points, or 2.2%, to a record 8,041.57.
Even beleaguered Tokyo stocks got a lift: The Nikkei average gained 178.32 points to 20,500.25.
Among U.S. market highlights:
* Industrial stocks following Goodyear higher included Owens-Corning, up 1 3/8 to 45 1/4; Kennametal, up 3/4 to 38 1/2; Cummins Engine, up 1 3/4 to 81 5/8; Inland Steel, up 7/8 to 30 1/4, and Superior Industries, up 3/4 to 48 1/4.
* Technology stocks recovered somewhat from Tuesday's downturn, sparked by a disappointing earnings report from Advanced Micro Devices. AMD, down 4 3/4 on Tuesday, lost 1 to 21. But National Semiconductor added 1/2 to 19 3/8, Cirrus Logic rose 1 7/8 to 32 5/8 and Microsoft jumped 1 5/8 to 84 7/8.
Among other tech issues, Intel slipped 3/4 to 69 1/4, Motorola eased 1/4 to 98 1/2 and Texas Instruments lost 3/8 to 70 1/8.
* Energy stocks were weak. Atlantic Richfield slid 2 1/8 to 112 1/2 and Union Texas tumbled 3 1/8 to 21 3/4 after the two companies disclosed that their drilling efforts in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska haven't yielded commercially viable wells.
Among other energy issues, Amoco fell 2 to 56 and Enron Corp. lost 1 to 35 1/4.
* In the health care area, drug stocks suffered another selling bout. Schering-Plough lost 1 to 66, Warner-Lambert fell 1 1/4 to 64 3/4 and Eli Lilly sank 1 1/8 to 51.
But troubled Southland-based hospital giant National Medical Enterprises leaped 1 3/8 to 11 1/2. Salomon Bros. upgraded the stock to "buy" from "hold," arguing that "the worst is likely over."
* Cable TV programming company Liberty Media jumped 1 1/2 to 27 after brokerage Furman Selz added the stock to its recommended list.
Silver prices soared in a rally that began overnight with Middle Eastern purchases in London of large lots of call options, according to Bernard Savaiko, senior metals analyst for Paine Webber.
A call option grants its holder the right to buy silver at a designated price within a set time frame.
On the New York Comex, silver futures for current delivery closed at $4.27 an ounce, up 20.2 cents on the day. Gold followed silver higher, rising $3.40 to $356.40 an ounce.
Analysts were skeptical, however, about silver's ability to maintain the higher price levels for long.
In other markets:
* Bond yields were flat, with the Treasury's key 30-year bond unchanged at 6.0%. Traders remain hesitant to move ahead of Friday's report on U.S. employment in September, analysts said.
* Light, sweet crude oil futures for November inched up 3 cents to $18.42 a barrel.
* The dollar finished mixed. It closed in New York at 1.623 German marks, down from 1.625 on Tuesday, and at 105.65 Japanese yen, down from 105.70.
Market Roundup, D8