Updated from 9:19 a.m. EDT
Stocks in New York opened to the upside Wednesday following the signing of a federal housing relief bill and the release of encouraging employment data.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was climbing 85 points to 11,482, and the
was up 10 points at 1273. The
was adding 16 points at 2336.
In the previous day's trading session, the three major indices each added more than 2% as crude oil dropped as low as $121.10 a barrel and
managed to offload some mortgage-backed assets from its balance sheet.
Wednesday morning, President Bush signed into law a housing bill that would help struggling homeowners and offer support for troubled mortgage companies
. Bush had previously threatened to veto the bill because of provisions he said would help lenders that contributed to the current housing crisis.
Citing ongoing fragility in the financial system, the
also said it would leave its discount window, as well as its term securities lending facility, open to investment banks until Jan. 30, 2009. The primary dealer credit facility was originally slated to close in September.
Earnings season, meanwhile, remains in full swing. After the close Tuesday, video-game maker
Similarly, life insurance provider
reported earnings that fell year over year and failed to meet analysts' expectations.
Before the new day's trading got underway, cable operator
announced a 7.5% increase in profit from the year-ago quarter, although growth in its subscription base was slowing. Glass producer
for the third quarter.
reported that second-quarter profit more than doubled as demand allowed it to pass rising raw materials costs on to clients.
reported declining profit but beat expectations and affirmed its full-year outlook. Navigation-device maker
, on the other hand,
Securities and Exchange Commission
extended until Aug. 12 its ban on naked short-selling of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and brokerages.
Shifting over to commodities, crude oil was down 50 cents at $121.69. Gold was losing $16.50 at $909.90.
In economic data, Automatic Data Processing's July payroll report showed an increase of 9,000 jobs, above the consensus estimate for a loss of 60,000, and an improvement over a loss of 79,000 in June. Crude-oil inventories for the week ended July 26 are due for release later this morning.
Separately, the Mortgage Bankers Association showed mortgage application volume for the week ended July 25 declining 14.1% to its lowest level this year.
Treasury prices were declining. The 10-year note was falling 18/32, yielding 4.11%, and the 30-year was shedding 1-4/32 to yield 4.7%. The dollar was gaining against the euro, the yen and the pound.
Most global exchanges, including London's FTSE, Frankfurt's DAX, Tokyo's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, were gaining ground.