The stock market recovered its poise Tuesday after the previous session’s sharp sell-off, but buyers confined their interest mainly to big-name companies.
Several widely-watched Wall Street indicators finished modestly higher while the broad range of stocks had a mixed session.
The Dow Jones industrials, which established new closing records twice last week before surrendering nearly 34 points on Friday, rose 10.43 to 3,963.97.
Losers led the NYSE tally at the close with 1,180 stocks down, 1,072 up and 736 unchanged.
Volume on the Big Board’s floor came to 308.06 million shares as of 4 p.m. Eastern time, compared to 347.98 million Friday. Financial markets were closed Monday for President’s Day.
Market analysts were relieved that stocks fared as well as they did given Friday’s setback.
“I think we got a little scare on Friday with that sell-off,” said Bill Allyn, director of equity trading at Jefferies & Co. “In view of that, the market made a good account of itself.”
Some of the stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Tuesday:
Shawmut National, up 4-3/8 to 25.
Fleet Financial Group, down 3-1/4 to 30-3/8.
Fleet, New England’s largest bank, announced that it has agreed to buy Shawmut National Corp. for $3.7 billion in stock. Stock of a Connecticut savings and loan that is to be bought by Shamut in a previously planned deal also gained. NYSE-listed Northeast Federal rose 1-1/8 to 10-5/8.
Home Depot, down 1-1/2 to 47-1/8.
The do-it-yourself retailer’s quarterly earnings didn’t impress Wall Street. It earned 32 cents a share in the fourth quarter, up from 25 cents a year earlier.
Dell Computer, down 1-1/4 to 44-1/2.
The stock retreated after some initial strength in response to the company’s fourth-quarter results. Dell earned $60.3 million, or $1.36 per share, including a one-time benefit of about $5 million, or 10 cents per share, from an extra month of international operations. That compares with $17.7 million, or 39 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1994.
Echo Bay, unchanged at 9-1/8.
Stocks of gold and mining companies attracted attention amid a continuing preoccupation with inflation. Pegasus Gold gained 1/8 to 10-1/2.