NEW YORK, JAN. 14 -- Stock prices changed little today as Wall Street awaited the release Friday of the monthly report on the nation's balance of trade.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 1916.11, down 8.62 points after falling 3.82 in the previous session.

On the New York Stock Exchange, eight stocks rose for every seven that fell. Volume on the Big Board was 140.57 million shares, down from 154.02 million on Wednesday.

Analysts said traders remained cautious while they awaited Friday's scheduled report from the Commerce Department on the nation's trade balance for November.

There are hopes, but less than widespread confidence, that the figures will show some improvement from the record trade deficit of $17.6 billion reported for October.

The consensus estimate on Wall Street called for a November deficit of $15 billion to $15.5 billion.

Texaco Inc. fell 5/8 to 36 7/8. The stock had traded at 40 1/2 Wednesday afternoon before the company announced that it may face a claim for back taxes of $6.5 billion.

Trading among other oil issues was mixed.

Columbia Gas System fell 6 to 33 1/4, posting the day's biggest percentage loss among NYSE issues, on reports of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruling that apparently denied the company a chance to recover a large portion of costs incurred in renegotiating contracts with natural-gas suppliers.

The company said it was likely to suffer "financial damage" of an undeterminable extent because of the ruling.

Digital Equipment Corp. fell 3 3/8 to 119 3/8. After the market closed Wednesday, the company reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.48 per share, up from $2.02 for the fourth quarter in 1986. The earnings result, however, was lower than Wall Street analysts had predicted.

Beverly Enterprises fell 1 1/2 to 6 1/2. The company said its management would recommend that the dividend be suspended.

As measured by Wilshire Associates' index of more than 5,000 actively traded stocks, the market's value increased $1.09 billion, or 0.05 percent.

The NYSE's composite index of all its listed common stocks edged up 0.02 to 137.97.

Standard & Poor's index of 400 industrial stocks rose 0.14 to 283.29. S&P's composite index of 500 stocks was up 0.07 at 245.88.

The Nasdaq composite index for the over-the-counter market gained 1.55 to 334.23.

At the American Stock Exchange, the market value index closed at 263.88, up 0.61.