NEW YORK — The stock market kept moving ahead Wednesday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average to a seven-week high in a session dominated by takeover news and speculation.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials rose 6.33 to 1,851.80, bringing its gain since the start of the week to 19.54 points.
The average last closed higher at 1,879.50 on Sept. 10, just before a record-breaking selloff from which the market is still struggling to recover.
Volume on the New York Stock Exchange reached 164.43 million shares, up from 145.87 million on Tuesday.
Analysts said many investors were proceeding cautiously until they could see the reception given the Treasury's impending quarterly sale of bonds and notes. The refunding is being watched as a key determinant of the near-term course of interest rates.
Rates fell substantially in the credit markets. By the end of the day, the price of the Treasury's bellwether 30-year issue rose by more than $11 for each $1,000 in face value as its yield fell to 7.69% from 7.79% late Tuesday.
That trend, prompted in part by falling oil and gold prices, lent some support to stock prices, analysts said.
At the same time, the stock market was still bubbling with news and rumors about takeovers and corporate restructuring moves. The pace of this activity is expected to be intense through the rest of 1986, in part because of changes in the tax laws.
BankAmerica climbed 1 7/8 to 15 3/4 in active trading. First Interstate Bancorp said Tuesday that it was making a sweetened offer to acquire BankAmerica.
E. F. Hutton jumped 4 7/8 to 52 after a delayed opening. The company has been the subject of recurring takeover talk.
Beverly Enterprises rose 7/8 to 21 3/8 on top of a 3 1/8-point gain Tuesday, when the company said some of its top managers and outside investors were considering a bid to acquire it.
Wendy's International, which reported a $47-million quarterly loss on Tuesday, fell 1 to 12 5/8.
Energy stocks were mostly lower. Exxon slipped 5/8 to 65 3/4, Atlantic Richfield 3/4 to 53 1/2, Chevron 3/8 to 41 and Occidental Petroleum 1/8 to 28 1/8.
Leading retailing issues, on the other hand, posted strong gains, with Sears, Roebuck up 1 at 44, J. C. Penney up 2 5/8 at 78 3/8 and K mart up 1 3/8 at 49 7/8. Sears said it was looking for an increase of 5% to 6% in general merchandise sales for 1987.
In the overall tally on the Big Board, advancing issues topped declines by about nine to five, with 1,010 up, 569 down and 413 unchanged. The NYSE's composite index rose 0.91 to 138.80.
In the credit markets, bond prices surged despite the government's announcement of plans for a record securities auction next week.
The Treasury Department said it planned to sell $29 billion in three- and 10-year notes and 30-year bonds next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at its quarterly refunding.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term governments were up 6/32 point, intermediate maturities rose by between 3/8 point and 21/32 point and 20-year issues were up by nearly 2 points, according to the investment firm of Salomon Bros.
The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, traded at 5.75%, unchanged from Tuesday.