Stocks gain slightly as investors wait for Persian Gulf deadline

January 12, 1991|By REFUTERS

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Wall Street stocks ended a quiet session with modest gains yesterday as investors waited on the sidelines with Tuesday's U.N. deadline for an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait approached.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 2.73 points at 2,501.49. In the broader market, gainers slightly outnumbered losers on light New York Stock Exchange volume of 123 million shares, down from 124.5 million Thursday.

For the week, the Dow lost 64.60 points, or 2.5 percent, falling in three out of five sessions.

Some traders remained hopeful that the Persian Gulf crisis could be resolved peacefully, but few investors were willing to take chances after being stung by Wednesday's dramatic reversal.

Stocks tumbled 80 points in a matter of minutes that day after talks between the top U.S. and Iraqi diplomats failed.

"We may have to live through holding our breath for some time," said David Holt, director of technical research at Wedbush Morgan Securities.

After a glut of news this week, mostly involving the tenuous Persian Gulf situation, investors found little in yesterday's session to draw them from the sidelines.

"As we come near the 15th of January, people want to be cautious," said Richard Meyer, managing director of institutional trading at Ladenburg Thalmann.

News of a 0.6 percent drop in December producer prices had little impact on stocks.

"The Mideast is the news item of the day," Mr. Holt said. "Everything else is going to take a back seat."

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