Dow up 6.76 on good economic news


NEW YORK -- Stocks closed marginally higher yesterday as the economic picture brightened somewhat.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 6.76, to 3,207.64, after seesawing 10 points in either direction. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.80, to 414.10. The NASDAQ Composite Index inched up 0.21, to 597.33.

Advancers outpaced decliners by nearly 8-to-6 among stocks on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading, though brisk, was the lightest this week, with about 199 million shares changing hands on the Big Board.

For the week, the Dow added 33.23 points.

"I think the market's in a holding pattern," said John Blair, head of equity trading at County NatWest Securities. "People are waiting for the outcome of the election and for what Clinton's going to do."

The economy, specifically Gov. Bill Clinton's plans to speed recovery, has dominated investor attention for weeks.

And the latest 10-day car sales, for mid-October, were better than analysts had expected.

The news followed Thursday's reports that the number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims dropped for the third straight week and that the nation's money supply rose $9.5 billion in the week ending Oct. 12. The rise in the money supply suggested that lower interest rates are starting to stimulate the economy.

The positive economic news restrained bond prices yesterday, which have been roiled by concerns that heightened government spending under a Clinton administration would swell the federal budget deficit.

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