NEW YORK, AUG. 4 -- Stocks surrendered more of their record July gains today in moderate trading, hurt by investor anxiety over persistent turbulence in the Middle East and higher interest rates at home.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrial stocks, which lost 14.99 points Monday, relinquished another 10.36 and ended the session at 2546.72. Broader market barometers also declined.
Wall Street analysts expressed dismay at the market's second straight loss, particularly because they believe many potential investors with large amounts of cash are waiting to buy stocks. But some strategists said the market was overdue for a correction after the large runups of last month.
"It was kind of disappointing that with all the liquidity around, we couldn't shake things and go higher," said Hugh Johnson, senior vice president at the First Albany Corp. brokerage. '
Although little news emerged from the Middle East, the market still focused on the possibility that Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his Islamic fundamentalist regime would retaliate for the weekend deaths of Iranian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and the growing U.S. naval presence in the region.
"The market has been overdue for a correction of sorts," said Lawrence R. Helfand, manager of retail sales at Rodman & Renshaw Inc. in Chicago. "The Ayatollah's looniness is just a convenient excuse to sell. By normal barometers, the market was overextended."
Hildegarde Zagorski, an analyst at Prudential Bache Securities Inc., said higher interest rates in the bond market possibly were drawing stock investors into bonds. The Treasury's 30-year issue, yielding 9.01 percent, was a safe alternative to the stock market in the eyes of some money managers, she said.
Losing stocks outnumbered gainers by a 3-2 ratio in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Big Board volume totaled 166.49 million shares, compared with 207.84 million Monday.
Among the most prominent issues affected by profit taking were oil stocks, which had jumped Monday in anticipation that Middle East turmoil might restrict petroleum exports from the region and raise prices worldwide. Chevron fell 1 1/4 to 60 1/4, Mobil fell 1 3/8 to 53 1/2 and Amoco fell 7/8 to 86.
Drug stocks also were affected by profit taking. Merck slipped 1 7/8 to 186 1/8, Pfizer fell 1 1/8 to 72 3/8 and Warner Lambert lost 1 7/8 to 77 1/4.
Manpower jumped 15 5/8 to 78 in heavy trading. The British employment services company Blue Arrow PLC offered to buy the temporary employe agency for $75 a share.
Nationwide turnover in NYSE-listed issues, including trades in those stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, totaled 198.93 million shares.