NEW YORK, JUNE 6 -- The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 13 points today in a session marked by leisurely profit-taking.
Traders said that listless bond and currency markets contributed to the general sense that stocks, too, were entitled to a lull after their impressive run-up, which had taken the Dow up more than 100 points between May 29 and Monday to record closes.
Part of the Dow's weakness lay in its oil components, which lost more ground in the wake of sharply lower crude-oil futures Monday and Tuesday.
Thomas Callahan, chief equities trader at Yamaichi International, expressed a widely held bullish view of the market's short-term prospects. "I think we're going to see more consolidation above Dow 2900, at least short term," he said.
"People still have cash to spend -- a lot of portfolio managers are still a high 10 to 15 percent in cash, by my reckoning," he said. "The trouble is, what do you buy up here? There just aren't too many bargains around anymore, and that factor is holding buyers back."
Nevertheless, he said, "the market will eventually have to deal with the phenomenon of a fair amount of excess cash."
At the close, the Dow stood at 2911.65, down 13.35, while declines outpaced advances on the Big Board by about a 4 to 3 ratio on moderate volume of 164 million shares.
Today's slippage brought the Dow's two-day loss to 23.54 points.
"It was a dull day, highlighted by a certain recovery in the high-technology issues and a continued slide in the energy stocks," said chief trader George Pirrone at Dreyfus Corp.
"It's worth noting that whereas on Tuesday it was the oil-service stocks that really suffered, today they weren't doing as badly, and the selling shifted over into the oil stocks themselves," he said.
Integrated oil companies moved broadly lower even though spot New York crude-oil futures managed to rebound from a sharp, 35-cent early loss to close up 21 cents a barrel.
Among big oil companies, Atlantic Richfield lost 1 7/8 to 116 3/8, for example, while Kerr McGee sank 1 3/8 to 45 5/8, Dow component Texaco lost 1 1/2 to 57 7/8 and Pennzoil, Royal Dutch and Mobil each surrendered a full point.
Dow component Union Carbide rose 1 to 21. Another Dow stock, Eastman Kodak, tacked on 1 7/8 to 41 7/8 on speculation that a merger partner might be found for its Sterling Drug unit.
Among the market's more prominent casualties, however, Tyco Toys tumbled 4 3/4 to 22 3/4 after management announced that merger talks with an unidentified suitor have ended.
Tyco had announced last Thursday that it had received an unsolicited buyout offer.
The Dow transportation index inched marginally higher, posting a 0.17 gain to 1212.77, while the utilities eased 0.57 to 214.54.
Among broad stock indexes, secondary indexes proved somewhat more resilient than their blue-chip counterparts. The Standard & Poor's 500 was down 1.68 at 364.96, the NYSE Composite down 0.78 at 199.15, the Value Line down only 0.26 at 290.36, the Amex Market Value up 0.36 at 364.19 and the Nasdaq Composite up 0.35 at 464.96.