Updated from 10:06 a.m. EDT
The U.S. market began Monday with a spring in its step after the U.S. Treasury and the
promised relief for battered mortgage buyers
, but the gains were quickly pared.
As midday approached, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 19 points at 11,080 after having been up more than 100. The
was down 5 points at 1233, and the
slipped 16 points to 2222.
On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said his
agency would extend additional credit
to Fannie and Freddie, as well as buy stock in the companies, if needed, to help the government-sponsored entities retain adequate capital levels.
Meanwhile, the Fed said it will play a more active role in setting capital requirements for the two mortgage backers and granted its New York branch the power to lend to the companies if necessary.
Last week, shares of Fannie and Freddie were repeatedly hammered on concerns about their solvency and speculation that the government would stage a bailout, destroying the value of their stocks.
The Treasury and Fed's decision to step in on behalf of the government-sponsored entities is good news, because things might have been worse if the government hadn't intervened, said Bill Stone, senior vice president and chief investment strategist at PNC Wealth Management.
"Some of these people that worry about a systematic failure of the financial system are kind of overstating the case," said Stone. Still, investors have reason to be worried. "The fact remains that even though the systematic risk might not be there, big picture anyway, I'm not sure that things have necessarily gotten any better for shareholders in financials."
Stone pointed out that a decision by the Treasury to buy additional shares of the mortgage insurers would probably be dilutive to the stock, hurting shareholders. "They could survive, but shareholders could still come away with little to nothing."
In a less encouraging development for the financial space, the Office for Thrift Supervision took over
late Friday after a bank run diminished its capital. Shares of IndyMac have lost nearly all their value, ending last week at 28 cents.
Stone said that the IndyMac takeover weighed on sentiment. With IndyMac stock trading under $1 a share since late June, said Stone, "The thing was in bad shape. Their specialty was alt-A loans, more than 50% in California. You couldn't get much closer to the eye of the storm." He said the failure may weigh on sentiment because of worry that there may be more bad news to come, and traders are probably concerned about holding shares in financials stocks ahead of their upcoming earnings statements.
Also disquieting to investors were earnings from regional firm
. The company said second-quarter profits declined 25% year over year to $160.3 million, or $1.44 a share, shy of analysts' forecast of $1.50 a share.
accepted a $70-a-share takeout bid by Belgian brewer InBev. The deal, worth $52 billion, represents an increase from InBev's earlier offer of $65 a share.
Elsewhere on the M&A front,
said over the weekend that it had rejected a proposal by
and billionaire Carl Icahn to restructure the Internet company and sell its search business to Microsoft.
This morning, disposal company
also began courtship of
, offering $34 a share. Waste Management said its offer is better for Republic shareholders than a June 23 agreement by Republic to acquire
in a stock deal.
announced that it sold 1 million iPhones over the weekend, trouncing analyst sales expectations for the sought-after smartphone.
Looking at commodities, crude oil was down 22 cents to $144.86 a barrel, and gold was adding $8.80 at $969.40.
As for Treasuries, the 10-year note was adding 20/32 in price, yielding 3.88%, and the 30-year was up 1 1/32 to yield 4.48%. The dollar was retreating against the euro the yen and pound.
Outside the U.S., European markets were rising, while the Asian exchanges showed some weakness. The FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were both up, though the Nikkei in Japan and Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined.