Stocks closed narrowly mixed in quiet trading Friday, making a modest follow-through of a sharp rally Thursday that was sparked by President Bush's speech on how he will revive America's weak economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average, which surged 33.77 points Thursday, inched up point to 3,305.70.Among the broad gauges, the New York Stock Exchange composite index edged up 0.02 to 230.80, while Standard & Poor's 500-stock index eased 0.37 to 419.58. The price of an average share added 1 cent.
Declines edged advances 882-864 among the 2,338 issues crossing the NYSE tape.
Final floor volume amounted to 180,560,000 shares, compared with 221,990,000 in the same period Thursday.
Prices ended slightly higher on the American Stock Exchange and in over-the-counter trading.
The bellwether 30-year Treasury bond, which edged up 1/32 Thursday, was down 18/32 to 99 15/32. The issue's yield, which moves in the opposite direction of its price, hovered around 7.29 percent - up from 7.24 percent late Thursday.
Traders said prices of government securities, which initially rose on news that inflation remains subdued, weakened as investors took profits.
Alan Ackerman, executive vice president at Reich & Co., said the market "handled yesterday's gain with some degree of satisfaction today - we did not have heavy profit taking."
"I would say it's a modest follow-through of yesterday's big pop," he added.
Hildegard Zagorski, vice president for national sales at Prudential Securities Inc., said the market was "very dull after a nice rally yesterday."
She said investors were "waiting for further developments in the economy. President Bush's speech was taken favorably by the market, but they're waiting to see what happens next. They're concerned about corporate profits, which will be hurt if the economy does not pick up steam."
Analysts said the market opened lower, depressed by a softening bond market and some profit taking following Thursday's rally, which was triggered by Bush's speech in which he outlined his agenda for jump-starting the nation's sluggish economy.
But they said the market could draw support from the dollar's firmness and a government economic report that was in line with expectations.
The August Producer Price Index, showing energy prices dipped 0.1 percent and food prices rose 0.7 percent, also matched the 0.1 percent increase in July.
The seasonally adjusted annual rate of wholesale inflation this year to date is 1.7 percent.
On the trading floor, National Semiconductor paced the Big Board actives, easing 1/8 to 11 7/8, giving back part of its gain Thursday when it reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share compared with a loss of $1.64 a year ago.
Ford Motor followed, losing 1 1/8 to 40 1/4 after a rating downgrade from Salomon Brothers Inc. Navistar International was third, unchanged at 2. Chrysler was fourth, easing 1/8 to 21 3/8.
GM, a key Dow component, eased 3/8 to 33 5/8 after Salomon Brothers lowered its 1993 earnings estimate for the No. 1 U.S. automaker to $2.75 a share from an earlier projection of $3.50.
Among blue chips, IBM rose 1/2 to 88, Philip Morris eased 1/8 to 84 1/4, and Merck edged up 1/8 to 48.
Volume of NYSE-listed issues, including trades in stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, was 224,258,190 shares, compared with 268,255,490 the previous session.
The Amex Market Value Index rose 1.64 to 386.45, while the average price of an Amex share added 5 cents. Advances edged declines 297-252 among the 795 issues traded. Composite volume was 11,133,775 shares, compared with 13,795,645 traded Thursday.
Fruit of the Loom led the Amex actives, rising 1/2 to 42 1/8.
In over-the-counter trading, the National Association of Securities Dealers composite index gained 1.77 to 583.01. Advances led declines 997-817 among the 2,870 issues traded.
MCI Communications led the OTC actives, rising 5/8 to 35 3/8.