NEW YORK, OCT. 24 -- The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10 points today as positive news on budget negotiations in Washington helped offset shocks to a number of high-visibility stocks on Wall Street.
But a $1.71 jump in the price of a barrel of oil for December delivery, to $31.08 a barrel, kept enthusiasm in check for most of the day's trading.
A statement from House Speaker Thomas Foley (D-Wash.), who said a budget pact this week is certain, helped rally the afternoon bond market and, in turn, underpinned stocks. Stocks also received support from a steady bond market and buoyant, earnings-related action in several high-technology stocks.
An afternoon plunge of about 15 percent in the stock of takeover target MCA Inc. unnerved the speculative side of the market. The stock drop followed reports that Japan's Matsushita Electric, an acknowledged suitor, has declared a "cooling off" period for negotiations until at least mid-November because MCA stock has increased too much in value since the announcement of buyout talks. MCA shed 8 3/4 to close at 50 1/8.
Another factor serving to dampen bullish sentiment pertained the money-center banks. Although the big banks traded narrowly mixed, the market was clearly nervous about news that Citicorp was having more problems finding buyers for preferred stock. The bank once again, as on Monday, was forced to raise the dividend-rate ceiling on an issue for which there was scant demand.
Among money-center banks, Citicorp dipped 5/8 to 12 after its second auction mishap this week, while Chemical eased 3/8 to 12 1/4 in the wake of a Standard & Poor's debt downgrade. Chase Manhattan slipped 3/8 to 11 7/8, but its high volume was partly attributed to dividend-capture strategies, traders said. Only Wells Fargo scored a prominent gain, up 1 3/8 at 50 1/2, after the company confirmed that renowned value investor Warren Buffett now owns 9.8 percent of its outstanding common stock.
On the over the counter market, Sun Microsystem shares were trading at seven times their normal daily volume after the workstation maker reported disappointing earnings following Tuesday's market close. Sun suffered a 22 percent fall, closing at 15 3/4, down 4 3/8.
At the close, the Dow stood at 2504.21, up 10.15, while advances barely edged declines on the Big Board on moderate volume of 149 million shares.
Among stocks reporting earnings, Compaq Computer and Computer Associates were solidly supportive of the market as a whole, and particularly of the high-technology sector.
Compaq closed up a hefty 4 1/8 at 47 1/2 in active trading after a report of surprisingly good earnings for its third quarter. Computer Associates also posted a high-volume gain of 3/4 to 7 1/8 after posting earnings for its second fiscal quarter that were triple those of a year ago.
Dow bellwether IBM further cheered high-technology bulls by rising 1 7/8 to 108 5/8 on heavy volume, thereby taking up, once more, the mantle of Dow leadership that it enjoyed late last week.
Among other Dow components, General Electric slipped 2 1/8 to 51 7/8 after persistently soft action all day, but other moves were only fractional despite a battery of earnings reports for the blue chips.
The Dow transports slipped 7.94 to 867.06, a loss facilitated by the 2 5/8 drop to 35 7/8 in Federal Express. The utilities gained 0.56 to 210.51, however.
Broad stock indexes were little changed. The S&P 500 was up 0.24 at 312.60, the New York Stock Exchange Composite up 0.10 at 170.60, the Value Line up 0.13 at 223.44, the Amex Market Value down 0.28 at 292.69 and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.11 at 340.98.