1/24/97 -- 2:37 PM

Wall Street 2pm,0437

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

At 2 p.m. on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 71.58 at 6,684.17, having recovered from a 93 1/2-point slide just 15 minutes earlier. On Thursday, the blue-chip barometer plunged over the last two hours from a 56-point gain to a 94-point loss in the second busiest session in U.S. stock market history.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by more than a 5-to-2 margin on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 381.65 million shares, well below Thursday's hectic pace.

The Standard & Poor's 500 list was down 6.72 at 770.84, and the NYSE composite index was down 3.68 at 405.47.

The Nasdaq composite index was down 15.58 at 1,362.79, and the American Stock Exchange composite index was down 1.93 at 587.76.

Stocks opened with modest losses, but fell more sharply once bonds turned lower, boosting interest rates. Bond prices were hurt by supply pressures from this week's actions of new Treasury bonds and a weakening dollar, which makes the payoff on U.S. securities less attractive in foreign currencies.

Declining bond prices also sent stocks plunging Thursday afternoon, abruptly ending the Dow's first trip above 6,900 and denying the latest in a stream of new highs.

``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 as high as 6.92 percent from late Thursday's 6.86 percent.

The Dow's biggest decliners included several of the blue-chip average's best performers over the past year: DuPont was down 4 1/4 at 103 1/4, while General Electric was off 2 3/8 at 101 3/4.

Helping cushion the Dow's fall was Alcoa, up 1 1/4 at 68 1/2, and General Motors, which was up 3/4 at 62 5/8 after The Wall Street Journal reported the automaker's board may boost its dividend and approve a stock buyback.

The technology-laden Nasdaq was weighed down by Cascade Communications, which plunged 23 5/8 to 40 1/2 as an otherwise strong earnings report left investors concerns about slowing growth for the digital switching technology concern.

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

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