Stocks down by 3.71 points in light trading


NEW YORK -- Stocks seesawed yesterday, ending in a small decline, as many traders took the day off in advance of Good Friday and activity dropped to its lowest level since late January.

The Dow Jones industrial average, which twice during the day eked out a 10-point gain, ended at 2,913.86, down 3.71 points. But for the holiday-shortened week it rose 54.95.

The market is closed today in observance of Good Friday.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index and the Nasdaq composite index also posted tiny losses on the day, showing the decline, however small, was widespread. The American Stock Exchange's market-value index, though, rose the equivalent of 12 points on the Dow, showing that investors were continuing to pump money into the smaller stocks.

Big Board activity slid from 201.8 million shares on Wednesday to 150.8 million yesterday, the lowest since Jan. 28, when it stood at 141.3 million.

Advances narrowly led declines, 859 to 679, but while only two stocks sank to 52-week lows, 94 rose to highs.

Among the highs was Kellogg, which jumped to 95 before falling back to 93 3/8, ahead 1/2. Another was Kroger, the food and drug chain, which reached a high of 24 1/2, up 5/8.

A lot of yesterday's action in the Dow, he said, showed "tenacity over 2,900," a sign "the market is probing for a platform to make another assault at 3,000."

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