NEW YORK -- Stock prices posted crisp gains in active trading yesterday, as investor confidence returned after two days of losses. With low interest rates continuing as a driving force, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 32.42 points, to 3,255.81.
The surge appeared late in the afternoon, aided by computer-programmed buying, said Philip H. Smyth, an analyst with Birinyi Associates, which tracks program trading. Mr. Smyth said the firm picked up heavy program buying from about 3:18 p.m. to near the close, and the impact of the programs added 20.79 points to the Dow.
New York Stock Exchange volume was heavy at 228.1 million shares, up from 218.8 million Tuesday. Gainers nearly doubled declining issues, 1,147 to 628. The Big Board composite index rose 2.55 points, to 230.19. The Standard & Poor's index of 500 stocks rose 5.49 points, to 418.13. The American Stock Exchange composite index rose 2.55 points, to 413.18.