Stocks put in a mixed performance on Thursday amid fears that inflation data due out on Friday will prompt another runup in interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2.69 to 3,932.68, posting its third consecutive single-digit loss after rising for five straight days on strong volume.
Advancing issues edged out decliners by 1,136 to 1,092 on the New York Stock Exchange. Big Board volume was moderately heavy at 325.55 million shares as of 4 p.m., up from 317.91 million on Wednesday.
Investors awaited today’s release of January producer price data, which are expected to show a 0.4-percent increase in prices paid by manufacturers.
A larger gain could be fodder for another credit tightening by the Federal Reserve. “A little unsettling number tomorrow, and the market might sell off 20-30 points,” said Ricky Harrington, a technical analyst at Interstate-Johnson Lane in Charlotte, N.C.
Some of the stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday:
Telefonos de Mexico’s American Depositary receipts fell 1-1/2 to 32-1/4.
The American shares of Mexican companies dropped in sympathy with the Mexican stock market.
Compaq Computer rose 7/8 to 37-3/4.
IBM rose 3/4 to 75.
National Semiconductor rose 5/8 to 18-1/4.
Computer stocks put in another strong day amid reports of rising demand for semiconductor chips and personal computers
Micron Technology rose 2-1/2 to 50-3/8.
The company’s Micron Computer unit unveiled the Micron P100 Milennia, a new Pentium microchip.
Advanced Micro Devices rose 5/8 to 31-1/4.
The semiconductor maker said late Wednesday that it had distributed a record $57 million in profit sharing to domestic employees in 1994.
Intel rose 7/8 to 77-1/2.
The computer chipmaker’s stock was rallying for the second consecutive session after Merrill Lynch named the issue to its focus list of attractive stocks.
Viacom fell 5/8 to 47-1/2.
A House of Representatives panel voted to overturn a minority tax break, which could endanger Viacom’s planned sale of its cable system and potentially delay an agreement between Viacom and TeleCommunications Inc. TeleCommunications’ Series “A” stock rose 1/2 to 22-1/2 in Nasdaq trading.