Stocks finished a cautious session on a mixed note Thursday, as bond prices weakened and investors worried about another possible rise in interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average declined 6.73 to 3,850.92, reversing direction after three consecutive days of gains totaling 24 points.
But advancing issues outnumbered decliners by 1,148 to 1,079 on the New York Stock Exchange. Big Board volume was moderate at just over 309.06 million shares, down from 319.45 million Wednesday.
“The bond market’s off, so there’s not any particular driver for the market,” said Gail Dudack, a market analyst at S.G. Warburg.
The 30-year bond was down 3/8 point after falling nearly 3/4 point. Its yield, which rises when prices fall, stood at 7.88 percent, up from 7.85 percent on Wednesday. The dollar weakened.
Stock traders said the market was stalled ahead of December jobs figures due out today.
Elsewhere overseas, stocks lost 0.4 percent in Tokyo, fell 0.5 percent in Frankfurt and were off 0.63 percent in London.
Some of the stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday:
Telefonos de Mexico’s American depositary receipts fell 1/8 to 38.
Empresas ICA fell 1/8 to 12 3/4.
Grupo Televisa was unchanged at 28 5/8.
Mexico Fund fell 3/8 to 20 1/2.
The American shares of Mexican companies were mixed after Mexico’s Finance Minister Guilermo Ortiz told investors in New York that his country had obtained adequate financing to meet its debt obligations.
Wal-Mart rose 3/8 to 22.
The nation’s largest retailer said sales from stores open at least a year rose 6.8 percent from last December, while total sales were up 22 percent.
Sallie Mae rose 1 to 36 3/4.
The stock extended Wednesday’s 2-point rise after a key congressman said he would oppose a Clinton administration plan to make government education loans directly to students. The plan would effectively eliminate Sallie Mae’s business.
Adobe Systems rose 1 1/8 to 29 7/8.
The software company reported a fourth-quarter loss of 79 cents per share, including restructuring charges and write-offs, compared with a gain of 34 cents in the year-ago quarter.
InterDigital Communications fell 3/4 to 8 3/8.
The stock rose Wednesday after the company’s InterDigital Tech unit reached a patent license agreement with Cirrus Logic.