NEW YORK -- Blue-chip stocks were held to a minuscule gain today and broader indicators retreated. A surge in interest rates following a disappointing Treasury bond auction deflated a bid to extend yesterday's broad stock market rally.
Dow up 1.59
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1.59 to close at 10,789.39. The Dow rose as much as 113 points earlier in today's session as it followed through on yesterday's 132.65-point gain. Broader indicators gave up early gains to finish lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 3.77 to 1,298.16 and the Nasdaq composite fell 15.44 to 2,549.54.
Decliners barely beat advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,528 down, 1,484 up and 514 unchanged. NYSE volume totaled 747.72 million shares vs. 789.56 million yesterday. The NYSE index rose 0.41 to 610.63, and the American Stock Exchange index gained 3.28 to 780.65. The Russell 2000 index rose 0.63 to 428.82.
Stocks were higher across the board for much of today's session as bargain-hunters sought out shares that have been pounded down from the record heights reached in mid-July. But worries about higher interest rates, which have held the market down for the past three weeks, prevailed today.
Stocks fell following the Treasury's afternoon auction of $10 billion in 30-year bonds. Traders said demand for the bonds fell short of expectations, driving the price down and the yield up. Yields on 30-year bonds hit 6.27 percent in the open market, a level unseen since October 1997. "As long as the bond market is behaving like a bear market, it will be tough for stocks to take off," said Eugene G. Mintz, analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.