A rapidly falling dollar helped stall a rally in the U.S. stock market yesterday and left the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average with only a tiny gain.

After a session of choppy trading, the Dow closed at 1846.82, up 0.33 point. It was one of the most evenly balanced showings since the Dow plunged 508 points on Oct. 19 and set off a chain of wild swings in the nation's markets.

Once again, the market's main strength was concentrated in the blue chip issues. In a broader listing of New York Stock Exchange shares, losing issues outnumbered gainers by about 2 to 1. Stocks fell on both the American Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq over-the-counter markets, dropping 1.9 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. The fundamental downtrend was evident in the ratio of losers to gainers, which ran more than 2 to 1 on the Amex and almost 3 to 1 on Nasdaq.

In a now-classic scenario, the decline of the dollar in foreign currency trading -- especially against the yen and the West German mark -- caused bond prices to fall and, in turn, led to decreases in stock prices.

The dollar yesterday hit a seven-year low against the mark and slid deeply against other key currencies. It fell to 1.7383 marks from 1.7695 on Tuesday, and to 138.40 yen from 142.

The decline accelerated after European Community Commission President Jacques Delors said the United States was willing to accept a dollar at 1.6 marks. Reagan administration officials quickly denied his remarks, saying they "do not reflect the policies of the U.S. government."

A falling dollar tends to discourage foreign investment in the United States because the currency loss can erode gains of such investments. It also raises fears that higher interest rates will be required to shore up the dollar.

The Treasury's key 30-year bond fell three-quarters of a point, or $7.50 for every $1,000 in face value. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction of its price, rose to 9.14 percent from 9.06 percent.

Peter DaPuzzo, head of equity trading at Shearson Lehman Bros. in New York, said the dollar's fall had "stalled the rally" and "hurts us internationally." But at the same time, he said, the market was being strengthened by a wave of stock buybacks by U.S. corporations. Based on the idea that their stocks are now 20 to 30 percent cheaper than a few weeks ago, many companies are purchasing large blocks of their own shares.

The Dow's flat performance yesterday masked a move of nearly 100 points as the indicator moved from a 63-point loss to a 35-point gain before ending the day in neutral territory.

The Dow opened lower, again indicating the psychological links between traders as they reacted to losses earlier in the day in Tokyo and London and to foreign sell orders waiting when the market opened in New York.

{In early trading today, stock prices fell sharply in Tokyo, and traders blamed the selling on the weakness in the dollar. The 225-share Nikkei stock average, which fell 257.43 points Wednesday, lost another 297.31 points, a 1.3 percent decline, to finish the morning session at 22,280.22.}

The rebound that followed, analysts said, was powered by bargain hunting by retail and institutional investors, but the falling dollar and bond market losses helped cool the rally.

Volume was relatively heavy, with almost 280 million shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange. However, it was still far below the record 600 million share days that accompanied the market's plunge last week.

The markets continued to close at 2 p.m., two hours earlier than usual, to allow Wall Street firms to catch up with paperwork.

"The corporate buybacks have been a tremendous relief to the markets," said DaPuzzo. "If it weren't for the buybacks, the market would be 15 to 20 percent lower."

DaPuzzo said he believed sellers had exhausted themselves and buyers were beginning to come back into the market. "I believe the worst is behind us," he said.

Larry Wachtel, an analyst with Prudential-Bache Securities in New York, said the dollar's fall "is inhibiting the market, which has been showing signs of trying to rally."

Wachtel said that while he did not consider the dollar-bond-stock connection to be automatic, "the linkage was intact today."

"This has been a stabilization day," said Dennis E. Jarrett, an analyst with Kidder, Peabody & Co. in New York. He defined a 'stabilization day' as meaning that "it's too early to get our act together for the upside and we're not doing much on the downside."

He said the series of less dramatic up-and-down moves in the market yesterday was an indication that "we're starting to lose the volatility. We're also groping for a bottom and we'll have to find that bottom before we can launch any rally."

Jarrett said that for at least the next few days, the trend will be lower as market players continue to test the Dow's recent low of 1738.74, the point at which the indicator closed on Black Monday.

Jarrett said he believed the dollar was falling because of perceptions among traders that there was an agreement among central bankers to let it decline.

The market's collapse was caused in part by the market "venting its frustration" over the failure of the administration and Congress to create "an environment in which the economy can grow," said Monte Gordon, research director for Dreyfus Corp.

Investors continue to wait for some sign of progress in cutting the federal budget deficit, Gordon said.

He said he favored tax credits to encourage savings, credits for capital expenditures for plant and equipment and a return to preferential treatment of capital gains on investments. The 20 percent tax limit on capital gains was wiped out in the recently adopted tax law when marginal tax rates were lowered.

Gordon said that while the budget and trade deficits were near-term worries, Wall Street was looking for a long-range plan that reflected a commitment to fundamental changes in the economy.

At the institutional investor level, Mark C. Dollard, vice president of Amivest Capital Management in New York, which manages about $375 million, said he believes officials in Washington are "Mickey Mousing around" instead of driving ahead with solutions.

Dollard said that one of the most difficult aspects of the market's selloff was that it had made advance planning far more difficult for his money management firm because of new uncertainties about consumer confidence and corporate performance. "We're strictly grasping at straws now," he said.

Dollard said his firm was operating on the assumption that a recession was on the way. "We're saying this will accelerate the next recession," he said. Dollard said he now expected the recession to arrive in the first or second quarter of next year.

Amivest used the downturn on Oct. 19 to put about $15 million into two mutual funds, the Oppenheimer Equity Income Fund and the Decatur Income Fund. That represented between 5 percent and 10 percent of Amivest's cash on hand, he said. He said the managers believed that buying shares in the face of a 22 percent drop in the Dow was a good move, even though the price of the funds later dropped further.

Since then, he said, Amivest has been on the sidelines. If the Dow were to head down again toward 1600, Amivest would be prepared to put additional money into the market, he said.

Analysts said they were concerned about the possible impact on the markets this week of a public offering by the British government of its remaining shares of British Petroleum Co. PLC. Because of market conditions, the sale of the shares in both England and the United States may prove difficult, causing losses for the underwriters, including some U.S. firms.

The offering affected the stocks of several U.S. brokerage firms whose subsidiaries are involved in the offering. Morgan Stanley Group fell 5 1/4 to 46 3/4, Salomon Inc. fell 1 3/8 to 17 7/8, and Shearson Lehman Bros. Holdings dropped 1/2 to 13 7/8.

Meanwhile, Comptroller of the Currency Robert L. Clarke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman L. William Seidman told a House committee yesterday that the stock market's problems should not prevent Congress from overhauling a law that bars banks from entering the securities business.

The New York Stock Exchange said yesterday that Haas Securities Corp., a relatively small New York brokerage firm, had been shut down as a result of financial difficulties growing out of the recent plunge. The exchange said it was working with another larger brokerage firm to service Haas' 12,000 customer accounts, offering those customers the choice of either liquidating their positions or transferring them to another firm.

Securities analysts said Haas' difficulties arose from its inability to meet NYSE capital requirements that stipulate how much money they should have on hand -- a failure most likely triggered by losses it sustained by engaging in risk arbitrage, a trading strategy that attempts to take advantage of price differences in two markets.

It was the fifth NYSE firm to be suspended in recent weeks, although none of these rank among the top 100 firms in net capital.

In market action, the Standard & Poor's index of 400 industrials rose 0.99 to 265.49 and S&P's 500-stock composite index was up 0.09 to 233.28.

The NYSE composite index was down 0.20 at 130.31, while the American Stock Exchange market value index declined 4.51 to 234.01. The Nasdaq over-the-counter index closed at 291.88, down 4.46.

DPL Inc., the holding company for Dayton Power & Light, was the most active NYSE issue, slipping 5/8 to 23 3/8. AT&T followed, rising 1 1/8 to 28 5/8. Philadelphia Electric was third, slipping 1/2 to 18 3/8.

Dow Chemical was up 1 5/8 to 66, while Exxon fell 2 1/4 to 40 3/4. General Electric rose 1/8 to 43 7/8, Eastman Kodak jumped 2 1/8 to 52 7/8, and Coca-Cola climbed 1 1/4 to 38 3/4.

Staff writer Michael Isikoff contributed to this report.