Stocks in New York were mixed-to-down out of the gate Wednesday, as a private-sector unemployment forecast and yet another dose of dismal earnings sank in.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was falling 24 points at 8055, and the

S&P 500

was adding a fraction of a point at 840. The

Nasdaq

retracted 1 point to 1515.

Stocks registered late-day gains Tuesday as chatter from Washington on the stimulus package, paired with promising housing numbers from earlier in the day played out alongside decreasing auto sales and sharp declines in financials.

Earnings continued to play, as

Time Warner

(TWX)

and

Walt Disney

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disappointed late Tuesday, with the former reporting

a fourth-quarter loss of $16 billion on massive writedowns in its cable, publishing and AOL assets, and the latter citing declining DVD, television and theme park income as reasons for a 32% decline in profits.

Kraft Foods

(KFT)

said

its fourth-quarter profit fell 72% on costs related to a restructuring program.

Also,

Costco Wholesale

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said it expects second-quarter earnings to be "substantially below" analyst forecasts in light of the weaker economy.

Not helping any was

Panasonic

(PC)

, which said it expects to record its first yearly net loss in six years in March and will cut 15,000 jobs globally to adjust to the economic downturn. Those numbers add to a slew of layoff announcements earlier in the week.

Helping to put the number of layoffs in perspective, on Wednesday morning, ADP Employer Services said private employers eliminated 522,000 jobs in January vs. 659,000 jobs lost in December. Economists had expected a median 530,000 private sector job cuts in January, according to a

Reuters

poll.

While job reductions in January were lessened from December, cuts

announced

in January shot up 45% to 241,749 month over month. Some relief for Wall Street: The financial sector had its lowest one-month total of announced job cuts, 1,458, since 2005, down from 39,604 in December.

But keep in mind, last month ADP Employment Service forecast that private-sector employment fell by 693,000 in December, far overshooting the subsequent report by the labor department of 524,000 job losses. That said, ADP substantially underestimated job loss figures in November.

Other data coming out Wednesday include the Mortgage Bankers Association Market Composite Index, the Consumer Comfort Index, and the Institute for Supply Management's report on the service sector.

The Obama administration plans

to limit executive pay to $500,000 a year for those executives employed by government-assisted financial institutions, a senior administration official said. The government has been cracking down on exuberant salaries and bonuses as well as spending in institutions that are taking taxpayer aid.

Wells Fargo

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abruptly canceled

a pricey Las Vegas casino junket for employees after it received criticism that it was misusing $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money.

Taking a look at commodities, crude oil was up 57 cents to $41.37 on Tuesday. Gold gained $15.2 to settle at $903.40.

Longer-dated Treasuries were recently rising; the 10-year note was giving up 2/32 to yield 2.9%, the 30-year was dropping 15.5/32, yielding 3.7%.

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

Stocks overseas were trading higher. In Europe, the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were recently rising. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng also registered gains in their session.