Rumors rippled through Wall Street yesterday that Marriott Corp. planned to acquire Best Products Co. of Richmond, fueling feverish activity in both stocks. However, both firms denied the report.

When asked whether Marriott planned to buy Best, a Marriott spokesman said, "Not to the best of my knowledge." A spokesman for Best reportedly said his company had heard the rumor but had no knowledge of an offer by Marriott.

"It doesn't make any sense," said Marriott spokesman Terry Souers. "We've long said our only expansion would be in fields related to our business" which is primarily hotels, restaurants and other food services. The company also operates three Sun Line cruise ships and two Great America theme parks.

Souers said he first heard the rumor about 4:30 p.m. yesterday when a reporter asked him about it. "This one is one of those trial balloons that people make up in the afternoon," Souers said.

Before the denials were issued, Best Products stock rose 2 1/2 points to $39 1/2 as 100,300 shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange. Marriott's stock declined 1 3/4 to $77 1/2 on NYSE volume of 42,400 shares.