Stocks advance slightly Dow rises 3.78 points


NEW YORK -- Stock prices closed slightly higher yesterday. Over-the-counter issues stabilized after a recent sell-off, while the broad market overcame declines in shares of cellular phone companies and oil firms.

The Dow Jones industrial average inched up 3.78 points, to 3,310.03, finishing the week with a gain of 53.22 points. Rebounds in IBM and Coca-Cola outweighed losses in Allied-Signal and International Paper.

Among broader market averages, the Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 0.11, to 438.78. The NASDAQ index of smaller stocks added 1.67, to 696.34, after having retreated 1.8 percent from a record high of 707.16 set Tuesday.

"There wasn't much follow-through to the selling, and prices backed off to where the buyers wanted them again," said Barry Berman, head trader at Robert W. Baird. "If it weren't Friday, I think the market would be doing better."

Traders try to clear their books on Fridays to avoid holding large stock positions over the weekend.

Advancing stocks exceeded declining issues on the New York Stock Exchange by a margin of 860-to-705. Trading was active, with 245 million shares changing hands.

Shares of cellular communications companies and regional Bell operating companies with cellular businesses plunged on reports that cellular phone sales were starting to suffer from concerns about the possible cancer risks they might pose. McCaw has commissioned a study of whether cellular phones pose any health hazard, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Motorola plunged $5.125, to $50.75, and McCaw Cellular Communications skidded $3.375, to $32.50. Motorola and McCaw were the two most active stocks, followed by Scientific-Atlanta and Wang Laboratories.

Vanguard Cellular declined $1.50, to $22.50; Fleet Call slumped $1.625, to $20.625; ADC Telecommunications declined $1.50, to $46.75; and Vodafone Group Plc fell $1.625, to $56.25.

Pacific Telesis dropped $1.375, to $44, and Southwestern Bell lost $2.375, to $68.875.

L The plunge in Motorola dragged down the semiconductor group.

International oil shares also surrendered recent gains. Prices of oil stocks had jumped Thursday after J. Bennett Johnston, a Louisiana Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, proposed an oil-import fee that would boost domestic crude prices.

Countering the declines in telephone and oil shares were advances in soft drink, electric utilities, electrical equipment and computer systems stocks.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad