NEW YORK -- The Dow industrials slipped 8 points to close at 3010 yesterday, after erasing an early 9-point gain amid fears of a possible renewal of hostilities with Iraq.
The Dow initially climbed 9 points to 3029, building on last week's overall 33-point gain, general satisfaction with lower interest rates, and bullishness from Friday's record high in the NASDAQ's composite index of largely secondary issues.
But the early rally was cut short by news that Iraqi troops had detained a mission of United Nations nuclear experts in Baghdad. Washington has repeatedly warned Iraq that harassment of U.N. weapons-site investigators could result in new military strikes by U.S. forces remaining in the Gulf theater.
Although later news indicated that the U.N. personnel had been allowed to leave, stocks failed to respond.
"Trading was a little sloppy today, and the market generally looked a little overbought," said chief trader Jeffrey Kaminsky at Mabon, Nugent.
At the close, the Dow stood at 3010.51, down 8.72, while declines outpaced advances on the NYSE by 895 to 647 on volume of 145 million shares, down from 241 million on Friday, when volume was inflated by the settlements of September futures and options.
Among broad stock indexes, the S&P 500 closed down 2.00 at 385.92, the NYSE Composite down 0.96 at 212.02, the Value Line down 1.39 at 315.98, the Amex Market Value down 0.49 at 370.11, and the NASDAQ Composite down 2.50 at 524.69.