NEW YORK — The stock market nudged the Dow Jones industrial average to another record high Thursday, after spending most of the session in the losing column amid worries about the quarterly "triple witching hour."
The closely watched index closed at 2,408.13, up 0.78 points from Wednesday's close--which had remained unchanged at Tuesday's previous record-breaking level of 2,407.35.
Volume at the New York Stock Exchange came to 168.58 million shares. Gainers slightly outnumbered losers among Big Board-listed issues, with 789 stocks higher, 724 lower and 440 unchanged.
Analysts said many traders had moved to the sidelines to avoid being caught up in possible market swings at the quarterly expiration of stock options, stock index futures and index options.
Those expirations traditionally have taken place at the close of trading on the last Friday of March, June, September and December. But this has led to extreme volatility, as professionals using computers has played the futures and options off against their underlying stocks in simultaneous trades.
Under new rules being enacted this week, trading in some of the futures contracts ended Thursday, with today's opening prices to be used for settlement.
The rules were designed to curb volatility. But analysts said the market was jittery, because there was no way of knowing how effective the new rules would be.
Gillette led the New York Stock Exchange's list of most-active issues at 40, up 3, on word that Revlon had offered at least $40.50 per share for the company. Revlon closed at 20, up .
AT&T stood at 28 7/8, up 1 1/8, while IBM was down 1/2 at 160 7/8; Digital Equipment was up 3/4 at 167 1/2, and General Electric was up at 53 1/2.
In the bond market prices eased in light trading in response to a weaker dollar and disappointing economic figures.
The Treasury's 30-year bond lost about a point, or about $10 for every $1,000 in face amount. The bond's yield, which moves inversely to its price, rose to 8.48% from 8.40% late Wednesday.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term governments lost between 1/8 point and 5/16 point, intermediate maturities were 11/32 point to 11/16 point lower and 20-year issues were off 3/4 point, according to Telerate Systems Inc.
Yields on three-month Treasury bills were unchanged at 5.64%, while six-month bills slipped 3 basis points at 5.89%. One-year bills rose, however, by 4 basis points to 6.29%. A basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.
The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, traded at 6.75%, unchanged from Wednesday.