Stocks lose early gains


NEW YORK -- Stock prices turned down at midday, giving up earlier gains in a slow session sandwiched between the July holiday and a weekend.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, down 38.02 points on Wednesday, was off 2.68 points to 2,932.02 by 1 p.m. today on Wall Street. The industrial average had been up more than 14points at mid-morning.

Volume on the Big Board was a paltry 47 million shares.

The day began with some mild surprises in the Labor Department's monthly report on the job market, which showed an increase in the unemployment rate to 7.0 percent from 6.9 percent in May.

Nonfarm payroll employment declined by 50,000 in June after an upward-revised increase of 119,000 the month before.

Analysts said the figures served to cool down talk that economic activity might have picked up sharply as the second quarter came to a close. On that score, some interpreted the data as a positive for the interest-rate outlook.

But the full financial impact of the news was difficult to gauge in the absence of many market participants who were talking a long holiday weekend.

BankAmerica rose 7/8 to 34 3/8 . Late Wednesday the company said its second-quarter earnings would be about even with those of the comparable period last year.

The stock had fallen sharply in recent sessions as some other West Coast bank holding companies estimated sharply lower quarterly profits and increased loan-loss reserves.

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