Dow index gives up its early gains


LATE sell programs wiped out early gains and sent the Dow Jones industrials sharply lower near today's close.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrial stocks closed down 43 points at 5,506.21, having given up a morning gain of more than 30 points.

The late sell off was blamed by some analysts on reports during the day which showed some surprising economic strength.

The Labour Department said consumer prices shot up 0.4 per cent in January, the biggest advance in more than two years.

The Commerce Department said business inventories fell 0.5 per cent in December, while sales rose 1 per cent. That suggested to investors that manufacturers might increase production to replenish inventories, which could produce a potentially inflationary increase in economic activity.

Advances led declines by 1,227 to 1,124 on the New York Stock Exchange, leaving 753 unchanged.