NEW YORK, NOV. 5 -- The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11 points today in dull trading as much of the market remained on the sidelines, awaiting results of this week's record $34.25 billion Treasury refunding.
"There's nothing that can be said about this stock market that hasn't already been said," observed chief trader Dan Murphy at C.J. Lawrence.
"Everybody knows most of the real selling has been done for the time being, and they're waiting either for decent bottoming action or for the 'other shoe to fall,' " he said, referring to potential bad news for the Bush administration from Tuesday's congressional elections, or a bombshell from the Mideast or from the credit markets during this week's quarterly Treasury refunding.
Traders also said the stock market will be poised to react to any sudden swings in the bond market as the refunding gets underway. On Tuesday, the Treasury will auction $12.5 billion of three-year notes, on Wednesday $11 billion of 10-year notes, and on Thursday $10.75 billion of 30-year bonds -- a record $34.25 billion offering, all told.
In addition, $19.6 billion of 13- and 26-week Treasury bills were well bid at an auction today, and on Thursday, $12 billion of 161-day cash-management bills will be offered. These auctions bring total government supply to the credit markets to a whopping $65.85 billion this week.
Although Mideast war jitters were still evident in the stock market, a $2.04-per-barrel dive in December crude-oil futures, to $31.96 per barrel, went far to counterbalance those fears. Traders pointed out that the drop had more to do with reports of increased Saudi production than any lessening of Persian Gulf tensions.
The dollar also hit new lows against key European currencies on recession fears and expectation of still lower interest rates in the coming months. In New York trading, the dollar dropped to 1.4837 German marks and 1.2460 Swiss francs.
At the close, the Dow stood at 2502.23, up 11.39, while advances outpaced declines on the Big Board by a 2 to 1 margin on moderate volume of 147 million shares.
Financial stocks extended their rebound into a third day on prospects of lower interest rates that should improve earnings. The most active issue traded was C&S/Sovran, which saw more than 7 million shares, including a single 3 million share block, change hands before closing up 1/8 at 16. BankAmerica was up 1 1/4 at 21 7/8, J.P. Morgan gained 1 to 40 1/8, Manufacturers Hanover rose 1 to 18 5/8 and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. advanced 1 1/2 to 37 3/4. MNC Financial rose 3/8 to 4 7/8.
"The financials are really the only story out there today," said trader Jim Irwin at Yamaichi International.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. added 2 1/8 to 9 1/4 after the media conglomerate agreed to merge its money-losing Sky Channel with its British competitor.
Among Dow component stocks, Woolworth, a points leader all day, rose 1 1/8 to 27 1/8, and Merck gained 1 1/8 to 79 1/4, although some of late last week's prominent gainers took a rest. Boeing added only 1/8 to 46 1/8, for example, while IBM sank 1/2 to 107 7/8 and Procter & Gamble gained 1/4 to 79 5/8.
The Dow transports finished up 8.14 at 850.59, although the utilities, which far outperformed the transports last week, took what traders called a deserved rest, easing 1.26 to 214.66 despite a solid late-afternoon gain in the bond market.
Among broad stock indexes, the Standard & Poor's 500 was up 2.74 at 314.59, the NYSE Composite rose 1.42 at 171.49, the Value Line was up 2.34 at 223.43 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 4.31 at 340.76.