The stock market, struggled to recover some of its recent losses, settled for a mixed showing today in the slowest trading of the year.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, which had fallen 22.01 points in the past three sessions, eked out a 18 advance to 854.56.

The New York Stock Exchange composite index which touched a 15-month low at Monday's close, inched up .02 and 58.56.

But Dow Jones' transportation and utility averages both lost ground, and losers outnumbered gainers by about a 7.6 spread on the Big Board.

NYSE, volume came to just 14.90 million shares, down from 18.70 million Monday and the lightest total since a 13.23 million share day on Nov. 11, 1976.

Nationwide turnover in NYSE-listed issues, including trades in those stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, came to 17.49 million shares.

A quite day had been expected in the market with the observance of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashana.

The Dow industrials climbed more than 2 points at the outset in a bid to rallt after the slide of the three previous trading days. But analysts said the market was unable to make much headway in the midst of concern over rising interest rates.

Money-market watchers noted strong signs Monday that the Federal Reserve was encouraging short term rates to rise a bit further in its effort to reduce inflationary pressures by curbing the growth of the money supply.

The prime, or basic charge on blue-chip business loans, usually follows swings in open-market money rates, Chase's move came as no big surprise to the financial community.

But a rising prime rate often acts as a drag on stock prices anyway, at least partly because it signals an increase in companies' cost of doing business on borrowed money.

Standard & Poor's index of 400 industrial stocks rose 10 to 105.82, and S&P's 500-stock composite index was up 06 at 96.09.

Only two issues on the active list showed changes of more than a point-Falcon Seaboard, which fell 3 to 23 1/4, and Raytheon, which gained 1 1/2 to 31 1/4.

The two companies said they had dropped plans for a merger.

The Amex market value index eased .07 to 117.94, and the NASDAQ composite index of over-the-counter stocks was down .14 at 100.46.