Stocks pull up from dive to leave Dow index off 5


NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks closed mixed yesterday a renewed concern about a rise in the inflation rate vied with strong demand for computer and telecommunications issues.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished down 5.54, at 3,444.39, almost 22 points above its session low of 3,422.52.

The market recouped much of its early losses in the final hour after Johnson Redbook Service reported U.S. retail sales were up 1.2 percent in mid-May compared with April and jumped 10.4 percent from the same period last year, traders said.

Computer-guided buy orders further lifted prices, according to Birinyi Associates.

"The selling got a little bit overdone," said Ronald Doran, head trader at C. L. King & Associates.

Earlier, stock prices sagged in midafternoon as the prospect of inflation drove the yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury bond above 7 percent for the first time since early April.

Broader market measures closed mixed. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index eased 0.05, to 440.32. The Nasdaq Composite Index, buoyed by gains in computer, cable and health-care stocks, gained 2.82, to close at 680.78. The American Stock Exchange Market Value Index rose 0.76, to 428.22.

Late in the day, the benchmark 30-year bond was yielding 7.02 percent, up 5 basis points from Monday and matching a level that was last reached April 5.

"The whole thing is, bonds have broken critical support, and that's got everybody scared," said Richard Ciardullo, head of institutional trading at Eagle Asset Management.

"The market is definitely focusing on inflation," said Robert Stovall, president of Stovall/21st Advisers. Declining common stocks outpaced advancing shares almost 9-to-7 on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading was brisk, with 262 million shares swapping hands on the Big Board.

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