Stocks ended moderately higher on Wednesday, as investors were unimpressed by gains in bonds and the dollar but concerned about conserving the year’s winnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 11.20 at 4,766.68 after trading in a narrow 26-point range all day.
Advancing issues led decliners by about 7 to 5 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was moderately heavy at 377.93 million shares as of 4 p.m., a touch above Tuesday’s figure.
Some market sources blamed the market’s flaccid performance on unresolved budget negotiations in Washington. But Barry Berman, head stock trader at Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee, said he thought that was an “excuse to try to do as little as possible between now and year-end.”
Investors who have seen huge gains in their stock portfolios all year are likely to sit out the last two months, “as long as there isn’t anything in the news to force people into action,” Berman said.
Stock investors largely ignored a substantial runup in bond prices that occurred after reports providing some new evidence that the economy may be slowing. They also sloughed off a stronger dollar.
Some of the stocks moving substantially or trading heavily Wednesday:
Warner-Lambert rose 2-1/4 to 86-5/8.
The drug maker said Tuesday that it will collaborate with CoCensys Inc. to develop and sell medications to treat central nervous system disorders.
Federated Department Stores rose 1-1/8 to 26-1/2.
Standard & Poor’s Corp. will add Federated to its S&P; 500 index to replace Zenith Electronics Corp.
Boeing rose 2-1/2 to 68.
The aircraft maker received an $800 million order for five 777-300s from Japan Airlines.
Humana rose 1-5/8 to 22-3/4.
Third-quarter net earnings at the Louisville, Ky.-based managed health care company were 27 cents, even with last year’s, but revenues rose to over $1 billion from $906 million.
Sierra Semiconductor, rose 1-1/2 to 19-3/8.
The company priced 1 million shares at $18 per share. The size of the offering was cut from an original 2.6 million shares. The company said it would use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including deposits or loans to, or investments in, wafer foundries.
Laser Industries, rose 1/2 to 11-7/8.
The company said Tuesday that its third-quarter net income rose to 26 cents per share from 18 cents a year ago.