NEW YORK — The stock market managed to post a small gain Wednesday, but turned back after making its first run past the 2,300 level in the Dow Jones industrial average.
The Dow Jones index of 30 industrials, up about 15 points in the early going and down more than 10 late in the session, closed with a 2.13 gain at a new closing high of 2,286.93.
Volume on the New York Stock Exchange reached 198.14 million shares, up from 177.31 million in the previous session.
Analysts said many traders had been surprised and impressed by the market's upsurge Tuesday, which produced a 36.36-point gain for the Dow.
The general expectation on Wall Street had been that traders would remain cautious all week awaiting Friday's "triple-witching hour," when the last trading occurs in a set of options and futures on stock indexes.
Instead, brokers said, the market climbed to new highs as investing institutions scrambled to buy stocks to show fully invested positions when they make their first-quarter reports to their customers.
With all that, however, the market encountered resistance when the Dow hit 2,300 briefly on two occasions during the morning Wednesday, suggesting that some traders were using that round number as a cue to take profits.
In the economic news, the Commerce Department revised its figure for growth of the gross national product in the fourth quarter of last year to an inflation-adjusted annual rate of 1.1% from a previous estimate of 1.3%. Analysts said the news contained no surprises for Wall Street.
Energy stocks were mostly higher for the second straight day on indications of firming oil prices. Occidental Petroleum gained 1 1/8 to 33, Chevron advanced 1 to 56 1/2, Texaco rose 1/2 to 35 1/2, Schlumberger gained 5/8 to 40, Exxon rose 1 to 85 3/8 and Phillips Petroleum advanced 5/8 to 15 3/8.
Phillips led the active list on turnover of more than 4.4 million shares.
Bristol-Myers climbed 4 5/8 to 107. The company said it plans to seek regulatory approval for human testing of a vaccine to protect against AIDS.
Gencorp rose 16 to 106 1/2 as an investment partnership announced a $100-a-share takeover bid.
Advancing issues slightly outnumbered declines in the overall tally on the NYSE, with 795 up, 758 down and 412 unchanged.
Large blocks of 10,000 or more shares traded on the NYSE totaled 4,194, compared to 3,664.
The bond market finished mixed in mostly sluggish trading, pushed and pulled by conflicting economic signals. Prices of shorter-term bonds were mostly unchanged to higher, while longer-term issues generally declined.
The Treasury's closely watched 30-year bond slipped 1/8 point, or $1.25 per $1,000 in face value. That raised its yield to 7.51% from 7.50% on Tuesday.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term government issues were unchanged to 1/32 point higher, intermediate maturities edged down 1/32 point and 20-year issues lost 1/16 point, according to the investment firm Salomon Bros.
The movement of a point is equivalent to a change of $10 in the price of a bond with a $1,000 face value.
In corporate trading, industrials were unchanged and utilities declined 1/8 point in quiet to moderate dealings, Salomon Bros.