NEW YORK, NOV. 13 -- The Dow Jones industrial average eased about 5 points today in narrow, lackluster trading.
Traders took profits on blue chips, while longer-term investors searched among high-quality secondaries for issues that had lagged gains in blue chips in the previous two sessions. Secondary indexes fared better than their blue-chip counterparts all day amid this rotation in interest.
"The market had been up a couple of days big-time," said Jon Groveman, president and chief trader at Ladenburg, Thalmann, referring to a nearly 100-point advance over the previous two days. "It was time for a rest," he said.
"Stocks have cooled off, it's true, but they don't look terrible," said strategist Trude Latimer at the retail house of Jessup Josephthal.
"The pervasive feeling in the market is that it will move somewhat higher near term, but the length of the rally is very much in question," Latimer said.
Dampening market enthusiasm for a bona fide rally was uncertainty over oil. Prices rose, settling up $1.25 per barrel at $33.12.
At the close, the Dow stood at 2535.40, down 4.95, although broader market indexes finished mixed, as indicated by a margin of advances to declines of about 8 to 7 on the Big Board. Volume weighed in at the high side of moderate as 160 million shares changed hands.
Among Dow components at the close, Woolworth managed a 1 3/8 gain to 29 3/4, IBM suffered a 1-point drop to 112 in late action and Texaco eased 1 to 57 7/8.
Action was surprisingly quiet around Lockheed shares. The stock closed up 2 points at 31 3/4 after trading only as high as 33 5/8 following news that Texas financier Harold Simmons has suggested a plan to take the company private for $40 per share.
Among other percentage movers, Live Entertainment, a distributor of prerecorded music, plunged 3 1/2 to 10 3/8, a 25 percent drop on the day, after reporting what Wall Street considered disappointing third-quarter earnings.
The Dow transports eked out a 1.11 gain from the session, closing at 867.80, while the utilities fell a hefty 3.02 to 209.07 despite a 3/4-point jump in U.S. 30-year bonds.
Secondary measures outperformed primary averages all day as interest rotated away from the blue chips that led rallies on Friday and Monday.
At the close, the Standard & Poor's 500 was down 1.82 at 317.66 and the NYSE Composite lost 0.76 to 173.31, but the Value Line rose 0.62 at 228.12, the Amex Market Value gained 0.78 at 295.56 and the Nasdaq Composite tacked on 1.34 to 352.82.