NEW YORK, DEC. 16 -- A late surge in blue chip stocks lifted the market to another broad-based gain today, extending a powerful mid-December advance.
Transportation and technology stocks led the gainers.
Analysts said declines in crude oil prices contributed to the latest rise, but they said a more fundamental reason is the market's stubborn refusal to give in to selling.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, which had drifted narrowly after rising 8.62 points on Tuesday, soared in the final hour of trading to post a 32.99-point gain and closed at 1974.47.
In the past eight sessions, the Dow has risen nearly 208 points, or about 11.8 percent.
Advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 2 to 1 among issues listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1,145 stocks up, 469 down and 382 unchanged. Volume on the Big Board came to 193.82 million shares, down from 214.97 million shares Tuesday.
Some analysts had expected blue chip prices to pause after rising in the past seven sessions. But Lewis Smith, a technical analyst for Bear Stearns & Co., said even the skeptics were impressed that the market held its ground today during what was shaping up as a dull session.
He said investors with substantial amounts of cash were looking for any sign of weakness as an opportunity to get back into the market. It was this group that helped propel the market higher in the final hour, he said.
Crude oil prices have fallen for three consecutive sessions as oil industry analysts have discounted the significance of the latest OPEC production accord, slipping today to their lowest level in a year. Market watchers say the decline has diminished fears about inflation and encouraged speculation that fuel costs could be headed lower -- a factor in the rise of transportation issues such as airlines. The market also has been heartened by a series of government reports that indicate the economy continued to grow after the mid-October stock market drop.
In the latest evidence on that score, the Commerce Department reported that housing construction climbed 7.5 percent in November, the biggest increase in almost a year. It said it expects business investment spending to rise by 7.3 percent next year, the best showing since a 9.6 percent rise in 1985.
International Business Machines led the NYSE's most active list, climbing 2 7/8 to 118 7/8.
In the technology group, Digital Equipment soared 6 1/4 to 135 1/4, Data General rose 1 1/8 to 24 1/4, Hewlett Packard climbed 1 1/2 to 57 1/4 and Honeywell rose 1 1/2 to 58 1/2.
The airline stocks continued to do well. AMR Corp. jumped 2 1/4 to 34 5/8, Allegis surged 2 3/8 to 71 7/8, Delta rose 2 3/8 to 40 1/8 and NWA climbed 2 5/8 to 38.
Some money-center banking stocks bounced back after being battered Tuesday by concerns about Third World debt exposure. Citicorp rose 7/8 to 17 1/2, Chemical New York jumped 1 1/8 to 21 7/8 and J.P. Morgan rose 2 to 31 1/8.
Nationwide turnover in NYSE-listed issues, including trades in those stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, totaled 220.89 million shares. The NYSE index rose 2.73 to 138.34.
Meanwhile, reports that a weaker dollar had given a boost to the West German economy helped push the U.S. currency lower in foreign exchange today.
In Tokyo, before the West German report hit the news wires, the dollar ended a five-day slide to close at 127.60 Japanese yen.
Gold prices showed resilience as oil prices continued to slide. Republic National Bank of New York quoted gold bullion at $484.60 a troy ounce, up from $483.25.