NEW YORK — The stock market showed little change Monday, drifting through its quietest session in four months.
Energy stocks were one of the day's few strong spots as the price of oil extended its recent rally.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, down 29.63 points last week, slipped another 1.62 to 1,758.18. Some other, broader measures of the market recorded small gains.
Big Board volume was 85.85 million shares.
Analysts noted that several of the variables in the combination of circumstances that worked so well for the market earlier in the year have since changed.
In particular, oil prices have rebounded significantly from their lows of around $10 a barrel. The price of crude oil for June delivery jumped $1 to $17.16 a barrel in Monday's activity on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Interest rates are no longer declining sharply. And some Wall Streeters have begun to suspect that the best of the favorable news on inflation might already have been seen.
Though many market watchers remain optimistic for the long term, a lot of them now believe that stocks have begun a period of "consolidation" or "correction" after their sharp rise from last September through the first quarter of this year.
In the energy sector, Exxon rose 5/8 to 58, Mobil to 30, Phillips Petroleum rose 1/2 to 10 5/8, Amoco rose 3/4 to 64 3/4, Atlantic Richfield rose to 55 5/8 and Occidental Petroleum rose 3/4 to 28.
Halliburton gained to 20 and Schlumberger rose 1/8 to 30 among the oil services stocks.
Sperry added 1/8 to 73 5/8 and Burroughs was up at 58. The companies said Friday that they were engaged in merger talks, after Sperry had originally balked at a takeover bid by Burroughs.
Hewlett-Packard rose 1/2 to 43 3/4 despite slightly lower quarterly earnings per share.
Among other computer and technology issues, Digital Equipment gained 5/8 to 86 1/8, Texas Instruments 3 1/8 to 133 5/8 and National Semiconductor 3/4 to 13 7/8. However, International Business Machines dropped 3/4 to 144 1/8.
Home Shopping Network, traded on the American Stock Exchange, climbed 2 7/8 to 56 1/8, continuing its runaway rise since the company went public last week at $18 a share.
K mart was unchanged at 50 in active trading.
In the bond market, most prices fell in dull trading that analysts called a reaction to the higher oil prices and uncertainty over the nation's economic health.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term issues fell point, intermediate maturities fell about 1/2 point and long-term issues fell one point, according to the investment firm of Salomon Bros.
In corporate trading, industrials and utilities fell 3/4 point in light trading. Among tax-exempt municipal bonds, general obligations and revenue bonds fell one point. Trading was light to moderate.