1/24/97 -- 12:19 PM

Wall Street Noon,0392


NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks tumbled this morning, extending Thursday's late selloff, as interest rates jumped to the highest level since September in the bond market.

At noon on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 37.72 at 6,718.03. On Thursday, the blue-chip index surrendered a 56-point gain and plunged to a loss of 94.28 points in the busiest day of trading ever on the New York Stock Exchange.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by an 7-to-3 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 264.02 million shares, down from 296.03 at late morning on Thursday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 list fell 3.74 at 773.82, while the NYSE composite index was down 2.37 at 406.78. The Nasdaq composite index fell 12.09 at 1,366.28, and the American Stock Exchange composite index was down 1.90 at 587.79.

Stocks opened marginally lower, but fell sharply once bonds turned lower, boosting interest rates. Treasury bond prices were hurt by a weakening dollar, which hurts demand for U.S. securities, and supply pressures.

Declining bond prices also sent stocks plunging Thursday, stealing the Dow's first trip above 6,900 and record-highs in other broad-market indexes.

``Interest-rate fears just caught up with the market,'' said Brian Belski, technical analyst at Dain Bosworth in Minneapolis. ``We haven't seen this level in interest rates in a while.''

The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond - a key determinant of borrowing costs that has surged in recent weeks amid inflation jitters - rose to 6.92 percent today from 6.86 percent late Thursday. Higher interest rates hurt stocks by slowing consumer borrowing.

Weighing down the Dow was Eastman Kodak, down 2 1/8 at 86 3/8, Dupont, falling 3 1/8 at 104 3/8, and Philip Morris, down 2 1/8 at 115 1/2. The Nasdaq was hurt by big falls in a number of technology stocks, including Cascade Communications, down 21 1/4 at 42 7/8, and XLConnect Solutions, off 13 7/8 at 9 3/4.

General Motors, up 1 1/2 to 63 3/8, helped cushion the Dow's fall after The Wall Street Journal reported the automaker's board may boost its quarterly dividend and approve a stock buyback program.

Overseas, Tokyo's Nikkei stock average fell 1.2 percent, Frankfurt's DAX index was down 1.2 percent and London's FT-SE 100 was down 1.2 percent.

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