NEW YORK, OCT. 13 -- The stock market staged a rally today in what analysts described as a technical rebound after its steep drop of late.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, down 169.55 points over the six previous sessions, recovered 36.72 to 2508.16.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 172.87 million shares, compared with 141.87 million in the previous session.

Analysts said the market had fallen far enough in recent sessions that it began to attract buyers who had been waiting for a pullback. Gloom had become so widespread, analysts argued, that the market was due for at least a temporary bounce.

If the upswing is going to turn into a lasting advance, many brokers say, it will probably need some help from favorable news Wednesday on the nation's trade balance.

Wall Streeters generally expect monthly figures from the government to show a narrowing of the trade deficit from the record level of $16.5 billion it reached in July. For example, economists at E.F. Hutton & Co. estimate that the gap between exports and imports narrowed to about $13 billion.

Should the data prove disappointing, analysts said it might represent a fresh problem for the currency, bond and stock markets.

At the same time, they said, a favorable surprise could work significantly to ease the interest-rate and inflation worries that have beset the markets intermittently for the past several months.

Meanwhile, the dollar moved higher today against most key currencies. In Tokyo, the dollar ended a five-day slide, edging up to 143.90 yen from 143.85 yen Monday. In New York, the dollar rose to 143.865 yen from 143.075 yen late Monday.

International Business Machines dropped 3/4 to 148 3/4 in active trading. The company reported third-quarter earnings of $2 a share, up from $1.76 in the comparable period last year, but a shade below analysts' consensus estimate.

Honeywell, which posted a sharper increase in its quarterly profits from continuing operations, gained 1 1/8 to 77 7/8.

Electric, gas and telephone utilities, which are often sensitive to changing interest-rate expectations, turned in a generally strong showing, pushing Dow Jones's average of 15 utilities up 5.16 to 200.57.

Houston Industries rose 1 to 34 1/4; Pacific Lighting 1 1/2 to 59 3/4; BellSouth 1 1/2 to 41 7/8; Nynex 2 1/4 to 77; Southwestern Bell 1 1/4 to 43 3/4, and U.S. West 1 1/4 to 58 3/4.

Precious metals stocks, by contrast, were weak as gold prices slipped. ASA Ltd. dropped 2 1/4 to 61 1/4 and Homestake Mining was down 1 1/2 at 42 5/8.

Procter & Gamble rose 1 1/4 to 98 3/4. The company said it expects to report record earnings for the quarter that ended Sept. 30.

Advancing issues outnumbered declines by about 3 to 2 on the Big Board. The exchange's composite index gained 2.50 to 176.02.

Nationwide turnover in NYSE-listed issues, including trades in those stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, totaled 201.59 million shares.

Standard & Poor's index of 400 industrials rose 5.28 to 364.49, and S&P's 500-stock composite index was up 5.13 at 314.52.

The Nasdaq composite index for the over-the-counter market added 1.77 to 434.81. At the American Stock Exchange, the market value index closed at 344.62, up 1.05