NEW YORK, NOV. 14 -- Stocks resumed their rally of Friday and Monday as the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 24 points today.
Renewed strength in bank stocks and computer companies, a $2-a-barrel drop in the price of oil and continued strength in the bond market convinced fence-sitters to hop aboard today's rising market.
U.S. 30-year bonds rose 11/32 by the close. And December crude oil futures slumped $1.96 per barrel to settle at $31.16 as lack of bad news from the Middle East combined with technical selling pressures to force prices lower.
"The rally looks increasingly real -- it wasn't just programs that did it, although there was some index arbitrage during the afternoon," said chief institutional trader David Mack at Cowen and Co. "Gains were fairly across-the-board. It seems people are increasingly afraid of being under-invested."
Chief trader Kenneth Ducey at S.G. Warburg said, "It's partially an interest-rate play -- people still expect the Fed to lower interest rates sometime this week, even though the Fed didn't act today. There have been some buy programs, but there's been a solid underpinning of cash buying all along."
"People are definitely reducing their cash positions here," said Paul Kronlokken at Piper Jaffray & Hopwood. On Tuesday, Piper Jaffray's model equities portfolio went from 25 percent cash to 15 percent cash.
Traders said a broad recommendation in favor of bank stocks from Salomon Brothers served to strengthen perceptions that the financial sector has only begun to rally and that further sharp gains lie ahead before the bludgeoned banks will be seen to have corrected their severely oversold condition of the last few weeks.
At the close, the Dow stood at 2559.65, up 24.25, while advances led declines at the New York Stock Exchange by a ratio of a little less than 2 to 1 on moderately active volume of 179 million shares.
Special-situation plays helped lift spirits. MCA held on to a 4 1/8 gain at 66 5/8 at the close in anticipation of a completion of a Matsushita buyout sometime next week.
Home Depot rose 1 5/8 to 35 1/4 in active trading, propped up by what traders said was a Morgan Stanley recommendation.
Among Dow components at the close, IBM was up 1 1/2 at 113 1/2, Merck gained 1 3/4 to 84 3/8, Minnesota Mining rose 1 to 80 1/2 and Procter & Gamble added 1 1/2 to 82 5/8. Procter announced that its employee stock ownership plan will borrow $1 billion over 30 years to prefund retiree benefits.
Among money-center banks, full-point gains were posted by Security Pacific, First Interstate and Republic New York. In financial services, solid gains were realized by such companies as Loews Corp., up 1 1/4 at 93 3/8, and Household Finance, up 1 1/2 at 26. Insurance stocks also prospered as CNA Financial rose 1 7/8 to 57 3/4 and Marsh and McLennan tacked on 1 1/4 to 75 1/8.
Among the computers, aside from IBM, Digital Equipment rose 1 3/8 to 52 1/4, Hewlett-Packard gained 1 5/8 to 28 1/4, NCR rallied 1 1/2 to 56 5/8 and, in Nasdaq trading, Apple moved up 1 to 37.
Software companies also did well. Telecredit surged 3 1/4 to 39 1/2, for example, while National Data gained 1 5/8 to 13 7/8.
The Dow transportation average rose 9.79 to close at 877.59, while the utilities eased 0.32 to 208.75.
Among broad stock indexes, the Standard & Poor's 500 was up 2.74 at 320.40, the NYSE Composite gained 1.37 to 174.68, the Value Line rose 2.27 to 230.39, the Amex Market Value picked up 2.31 to 297.87 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 4.00 at 356.87.