Blue chips post modest gains

January 28, 1992|By New York Times News Service

NEW YORK VNB — NEW YORK -- Stock prices were mixed yesterday, with blue chips posting small gains while the broader market was weak. Many cautious investors moved to the sidelines ahead of the president's State of the Union Message tonight.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 7.83 points to finish at 3,240.61, but all the other leading indexes wound up with losses.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange was almost 191 million shares, down from 214.6 million Friday.

Gaining issues held a slim lead over losers as the Big Board composite slipped 0.23, to 228.94.

Anthony Ludovici, senior vice president and senior investment analyst with Tucker Anthony, described the trading as lackluster, with investors trekking to the sidelines before tonight's message. "The market quickly gave back early gains, with volume not much to talk about," he said.

Mr. Ludovici noted that automobiles were one of the strong spots in the market, with weakness still apparent in pharmaceuticals.

This is "an indication that there is still rotation into cyclicals, a group geared to the economy," he said. "Even in a lackluster market, it explains why the Dow was up while the market was down. The key market indicator is made up of a number of cyclicals."

Noting past moves by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low, which would translate into renewed economic strength, some analysts were high on auto stocks, reflecting expectations that the industry may be set for a recovery.

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