After a rollercoaster start to the week, stocks in New York were lower out of the gate Wednesday, as investor sentiment appeared little-altered by President Barack Obama's Tuesday-night speech.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

fell 48 points, to 7303. The

S&P 500

was bettered by 6 points, to 797. The


declined 14 points to 1427.

Investors who tuned in Tuesday night saw

President Obama

shift from the cautionary tone he had previously employed to a more confident position.

"Tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before," said Obama.

The President touched on healthcare, education and energy, emphasized the importance of the credit crises, and defended the recent housing stability plan. Of note, he said that more money beyond the $700 billion originally pledged through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (now to be placed through the Financial Stability Plan) will likely be needed to sort out the troubled banks.

Those same banks led the

market higher

on Tuesday, with the KBW Banking Index up 13.6%, after Fed chairman Ben Bernanke testified to the Senate banking committee and clarified some aspects of the financial stability plan, allaying fears of bank nationalization.

The so-called "stress test," an aspect of the Treasury's financial stability plan, which will look at the balance sheets and capital needs of the largest 19 banks in expected and worse scenarios, will begin today.

Meanwhile, the

Wall Street Journal

reported more trouble for one of the original bailout projects. Bids for


(AIG) - Get Report

Asian arm are due Friday, and a number of prospective bidders, including



and AXA SA

have abandoned the process

and no further bids may be forthcoming, the



In other corporate news, tech investors will turn their focus to California, as


(AAPL) - Get Report

holds its annual shareholders' meeting


In earnings,

Ambac Financial



a narrowed fourth-quarter loss

of $2.34 billion, as it recorded a charge of $594.4 million from a drop in the fair value of credit derivatives.

Economic data on existing home sales and also crude inventory levels for oil as of the end of last week will be available later in the morning.

In commodities, oil was rising 97 cents to $40.93, while gold was retracting $4.20 to settle at $965.30 an ounce.

Longer-dated Treasuries were recently mixed the 10-year note was recently lower by 4/32 to yield 2.8%, the 30-year was flat, yielding 3.5%.

The dollar was recently slightly stronger against the yen, pound and euro.

Stocks abroad were widely lower. The FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were lower by about 1% apiece, after Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng both ended with losses.