NEW YORK - Stocks closed higher on a late burst of buying today as optimism generated by merger announcements overcame worries about interest rates and Yugoslavia.
Dow rises 46
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46.35 to 9,832.51 after changing direction several times over the course of the day. The pre-holiday trading was light, allowing prices to take sharper swings than usual.
Broader stock indicators also ended higher after a mixed session. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 7.35 points to close at 1,293.72, and the Nasdaq composite index, led by technology stocks, rose 31.97 points to end at 2,493.37.
Advancers beat decliners by 1,537 to 1,467 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 557 unchanged. NYSE volume totaled 701.1 million shares as of 4 p.m., vs. 922.16 million yesterday.
The NYSE composite index rose 1.40 to 604.99, and the American Stock Exchange composite index gained 1.00 to 711.30. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 1.11 to 398.74.
Bond prices fell on inflation concerns. The yield on the 30-year Treasury rose to 5.67 percent from 5.62 late yesterday.
Many investors in both the stock and bond markets were trading cautiously ahead of the long holiday weekend. Financial markets will be closed tomorrow in observance of Good Friday.
The market was nervous about the continuing U.S. military presence in Yugoslavia and worried that the situation might escalate over the weekend.
They were also wary about tomorrow's release of March employment data, especially because the stock market will be closed.