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The stock market was higher in choppy trading early this afternoon, as it recovered from Monday's modest drop.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials was up 13.61 points at 2,606.93 after two and a half hours of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Advancers outnumbered decliners by about 7 to 6, with 719 up, 600 down and 560 unchanged.

Volume on the Big Board came to 74.42 million shares at noon, compared with 58.41 million shares at noon Monday.

There was no dominant pattern to today's early trading, but analyst Jack Solomon at Bear Stearns & Co. said traders seemed to have been reassured by the latest inflation figures from the government.

The Labor Department said today that the Consumer Price Index had gone up 0.3 percent in November, half of the 0.6 percent increase in prices in October and far less than the increases of 0.8 percent in September and August.

"Today's a bit of a respite and a bit of a sigh of relief that the CPI didn't upset the apple cart," Solomon said. There also was a sense in the market that diplomats were trying to find a peaceful solution to the Persian Gulf crisis, he said.

High oil prices brought on by the crisis have hurt stock prices in many trading sessions.

Leading the NYSE most active list was Canadian Pacific, unchanged at 17 3/8 .

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