The stock market showed strength early this week but faded into listlessness as it failed in another attempt to close above 3,000.
Nevertheless, the market still managed to rec-ord its seventh advance in eight weeks. Analysts said the end of the Persian Gulf war is reviving consumer confidence and aiding the market.The Dow Jones industrial average fell 8.17 Friday to end the week at 2955.20. It gained 45.30 points on the week, or about 1.5 percent.
Broader market indexes again finished the week at record highs. Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 4.48 to end the week at 374.95, and the New York Stock Exchange composite index added 2.56 to end the week at 204.95.
Advances led declines 1,316-651 among the 2,199 NYSE issues traded this week. Weekly Big Board volume totaled 1,109,482,140 shares, the fourth week in the past five of billion-share turnover. That figure compared with 1,004,768,360 a week earlier and 768,924,120 shares a year ago.
The Dow had three straight winning sessions this week but closed with two losing sessions.
The market started off with a surge Monday, but late profit taking in a newsless atmosphere trimmed the gains. Analysts were encouraged by the rally, however.
Traders wondered how well the United States would deal with the domestic economy after winning a smashing victory in the gulf war.
A buying frenzy Tuesday pushed the market toward the 3,000 level as the Dow industrials leaped 58.51 to close less than 30 points from 3,000. Analysts said the market was feeding on itself and euphoria from the allied war victory.
Anyone with cash built up during the war felt uncomfortable and plunged into the market.
On Wednesday, the Dow reached the 3,000 level twice during the day for the first time since July, when it registered an all-time closing high of 2999.75. But that level again became a powerful barrier, and the Dow retreated to only a marginal gain by day's end, leaving it short again of closing at the 3,000 level.
A heavy spate of profit taking Thursday again frustrated the Dow's attempt to hit 3,000 as the average dropped 9.90. Once more traders had no news to trade on and responded with a featureless session.
The February unemployment figures released Friday showed a sharp jump of 0.3 percent to 6.5 percent, and the market surged forward. That momentum quickly evaporated.
"It's absolutely dead," said Trude Latimer, market analyst for Jesup, Josephthal & Co. "At 2:30 p.m., people said, `Let's go home.' "
Jeff Kaminsky, head of institutional sales trading at Mabon, Nugent & Co., said the market this week showed "strong momentum to the upside. The tone was very good."
He pointed out the market's upswing reflects the perception that the end of the war is breeding consumer confidence. Historically, the market serves as a leading indicator, meaning the current recession that started in August or September might end by the second or third quarter.
John Burnett, senior vice president and head trader at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp., said the "market has acted very well and is entitled to a breather. There are very strong underpinnings to the market."
He continued, "The psychological barrier of 3,000 is not that terribly important, and a pullback shouldn't surprise anyone."
Latimer said the market's failure to breach the 3,000 level was "getting to be frustrating," but she expected the Dow to break through next week.
At week's end, Latimer said, "Investors were saying, `Please let me find a stock that hasn't doubled in the past few months.' "
Peter VandenBerg, vice president of equity trading at Lehman Brothers, said the week was "highlighted by a test at the 3,000 level, which has become a resistance level. A second highlight was the continued heavy volume and volatility."
He said the market also showed strong activity in technology stocks.
On the trading floor this week, RJR Nabisco when-issued stock again was the most active issue, advancing 7/8 to 10 3/4.