NEW YORK — The stock market lost ground for the third straight session Thursday in trading marked by wide swings.
The Dow Jones index of 30 industrials, up more than 20 in the early going, finished with a 2.55 loss at 2,599.49.
That marked the first time the index closed below 2,600 since it stood at 2,592.00 on Aug. 7. The Dow set a record closing high of 2,722.42 on Aug. 25.
Volume on the New York Stock Exchange came to 165.20 million shares, down from 199.94 million in the previous session.
Analysts said the tone for the session was set largely by the credit markets, where interest rates bounced around erratically.
Auto stocks were mixed as the domestic manufacturers reported lower car sales for the late-August selling period. Ford Motor dropped 1 1/2 to 103 7/8; General Motors was unchanged at 88, and Chrysler rose 1/8 to 44.
Bonds' Retreat Slowed
Among other blue chips, IBM slipped to 162, American Express lost 1/8 to 36, Eastman Kodak fell 1 to 97 1/2 and General Electric rose 1/2 to 61.
Declining issues outnumbered advances by about 8 to 5 on the NYSE.
Bond prices, meanwhile, slowed their downward march as the dollar's decline also moderated.
The Treasury's 30-year bond, which plunged about 3 points, or more than $30 per $1,000 in face value Tuesday and Wednesday, dipped 1/16 point, or about 63 cents. The bond's yield, which reached its highest rate since early 1986 on Wednesday at 9.46%, fell slightly to 9.44%.
In the secondary market for Treasury bonds, prices of short-term governments ranged 1/32 point to 1/16 point lower, intermediate maturities rose 1/32 point and long-term issues were up 1/16 point, according to Telerate Inc.
The federal funds rate, the interest on overnight loans between banks, traded at 6.75%, unchanged from late Wednesday.