NEW YORK, OCT. 16 -- The Dow Jones industrial average proved susceptible once again to volatility in crude-oil prices, falling 35 points today after repeated bouts of computer-program selling.
Crude-oil futures rebounded from a low of $37.15 per barrel in New York commodity trading today to a high of $39.05 before they closed with a 94-cent gain at $38.89.
The Dow peaked at a high of 2428, up 12 points, around the same time that oil reached the range of its morning lows.
Traders said that while the flow of third-quarter corporate earnings was generally lackluster, the savings-and-loan group took some conspicuous lumps. Golden West Financial plunged after a surprise, 600 percent increase in loan-loss reserves compared with third-quarter 1989, to $4.5 million from only $639,000. Golden West finished down a sharp 4 1/2 at 19 1/4.
"Golden West was considered by many to be the best-run S&L in the country," said Kevin L. Risen, an analyst at Banc One Asset Management in Columbus, Ohio. Its slide contributed to losses in other S&Ls.
At the close, the Dow stood at 2381.19, down 35.15, while declines outpaced advances on the Big Board by a more than 2-to-1 ratio on moderate volume of 149 million shares. The 30-year Treasury bond was up 9/32.
Traders said that earnings reports today -- while they were not bullish enough to overcome the market's continued preoccupation with oil-price volatility, the Middle East and the outcome of congressional haggling over the federal budget -- have at the same time failed to provide the market with a solid reason to sell off. Oil prices did that, traders agreed.
Among S&Ls and related government agencies affected by the slump in Golden West, Great Western skidded 1 1/2 to 9 1/8, H.F. Ahmanson lost 1 3/8 to 11 1/2, Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) dropped 1 3/4 to 27 despite a dividend hike, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) crumbled 3 1/4 to 38 3/4 and Hibernia Corp. was drubbed to a 1 3/8 loss at 7 3/4 after it slashed its dividend to 15 cents per share from 25 cents. Student Loan Marketing Association plunged 6 5/8 to 36 1/2 on word that the FBI is looking into the operations of a Lawrence, Kan., office.
The long-battered money-center banks succumbed to the afternoon decline as well. Wells Fargo lost 1 1/2 to 43 1/8 despite earnings of $3.03 per share compared with $2.83 a year earlier. Manufacturers Hanover slipped 1 to 19 3/8 despite its report of third-quarter earnings at 89 cents per share, in stark contrast to a $15.46 loss a year ago. Citicorp closed down 1 1/8 at 13 after reporting net at 56 cents per share against 99 cents in third-quarter 1989.
Among high-technology stocks, Lotus Development Corp. got a boost, gaining 1 5/8 to 14 3/8, even though its earnings fell. Honeywell gained 1 5/8 to 73 3/4 and Microsoft lost 1 7/8 to 54 5/8.
Among brokerage houses, Charles Schwab added 1/4 to 12 5/8 on earnings of 27 cents per share, up from 16 cents a year earlier. But Merrill Lynch dipped 3/4 to 16 1/8 after reporting earnings of 38 cents per share compared with 34 cents.
The Dow transports dipped 8.87 to close at 823.42, while the utilities eased 0.44 to 206.55.
Among broad stock indexes, the Standard & Poor's 500 was down 4.31 at 298.92, in line with the Dow, while the New York Stock Exchange Composite lost 2.20 to 163.64, the Value Line slipped 2.51 to 216.17, the Amex Market Value gave up 2.95 to 290.32, and the Nasdaq Composite sank 4.10 to 325.44.