NEW YORK, AUG. 29 -- The Dow Jones industrial average rose 17 points as the bond market benefited from a slide in oil prices.
Stocks were also supported by a warm reception for the U.S. Treasury's auction of $8.5 billion in five-year notes.
The 30-year Treasury bond advanced a full point, while October crude-oil futures tumbled $1.96 per barrel to $25.92 on perceptions of rising Saudi Arabian production levels.
Broad market breadth improved from Tuesday as advancing issues outpaced declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by a 9-to-5 ratio. But much of the Dow's advance was attributed to a series of computerized program trades.
At the close, the Dow stood at 2632.43, up 17.58. Volume was light at 134 million shares.
The market remained unmoved by a Commerce Department report that July leading indicators were unchanged, after a slight 0.1 percent rise in June, and by data showing sales of new single-family houses off 2.3 percent in July.
Institutional activity remained hesitant and lacked conviction, block traders said. Although there was demand for some food and drug stocks today, narrow leadership in the market was to some extent undermined by relative stability in the stocks of integrated oil companies, which generally failed to follow the sharp decline in crude oil futures.
Among Dow components, Chevron rose 1 1/8 to 76 3/4, Coca-Cola gained 1 to 42 3/4 and Merck added 1 1/8 to 82, but other moves were fractional. General Motors edged 3/8 higher to 40 5/8.
Among the foods sector, Castle and Cooke rose 1 1/8 to 32 7/8, ConAgra gained 1 to 33, Hershey added 1 3/4 to 37 3/8 and Kellogg tacked on 1 to 64.
Among the drug stocks, Warner-Lambert rose 1 1/4 to 62 5/8, Lilly moved up 1 3/8 to 60 3/4 and Bristol-Myers Squibb advanced 1 3/8 to 60 3/4.
The Dow transports rose 11.32 to 911.14, while the utilities gained 2.01 to 195.61.
Among broad stock indexes, the Standard & Poor's 500 was up 2.85 at 324.19, the NYSE composite up 1.52 at 177.78, the Value Line up 1.33 at 248.15, the Amex Market Value up 2.45 at 324.23 and the Nasdaq composite down 1.08 at 381.78.