Updated from 7:49 a.m. EDT

The U.S. stock market opened narrowly mixed Wednesday's as investors, neck-deep in earnings statements, mulled over the prospect of government aid for the mortgage industry and a continuing decline in oil prices.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

was slipping 24 points to 11,578, and the

S&P 500

was adding a point to 1278. The


gave up 4 points to 2300.

On Tuesday, the three major indices ramped up in the final hour of trading to close near their highs. Shortly thereafter, Internet portal



announced lackluster second-quarter earnings and tepid guidance

, but the stock was up slightly in early trading.

In the financial sector,

Washington Mutual

(WM) - Get Report

reported a loss that

was worse than analysts had feared

, but also said it wouldn't need to raise additional capital.


(BA) - Get Report



(T) - Get Report

, two members of the

Dow Jones Industrial Average's

30-stock club, reported before the open. Boeing reaffirmed its forward guidance, but its earnings for the second quarter dropped 19% from a year earlier. AT&T's profit rose 30% year over year and was in line with expectations.

Traders also heard from integrated oil company


(COP) - Get Report

, which saw adjusted income rise 13% year over year, beating estimates.

Northwest Airlines


marked a $377 million loss on rising fuel costs.

On the health-care side, biotech firm



saw earnings fall on rising costs, but excluding items the company edged ahead of Wall Street's expectations. Big pharma firm


(GSK) - Get Report

likewise saw profits decline, and it said it would delay a planned share repurchase.


(PFE) - Get Report

, a Dow component, posted profits that more than doubled year over year and topped the consensus. The solid quarter owed largely to a decline in restructuring charges and overseas sales buoyed by a weak dollar.

Also showing strength thanks to sales abroad, fast-food giant and fellow Dow stock


(MCD) - Get Report

swung to a profit, besting analyst forecasts.

Meanwhile, soda and chips provider


(PEP) - Get Report

beat expectations, reaffirmed guidance and announced a $1 billion share buyback.

Tobacco concern

Philip Morris International

(PM) - Get Report

likewise delivered strong profits, and also raised its own earnings expectations for 2008.

Outside the earnings sphere, members of Congress have worked out a housing relief pact that would prop up mortgage companies

Fannie Mae


Freddie Mac



General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

announced that its second-quarter global sales slipped on weak U.S. demand, placing the company behind rival


(TM) - Get Report


In commodities, crude oil was recently down $1.37 to $127.05 a barrel after losing $3 Tuesday. Gold was shedding $7.60 to $940.90 an ounce.

As for the bond market, 10-year Treasury notes were down 6/32 in price to yield 4.12%. The 30-year was off 4/32, yielding 4.67%. The dollar was stronger against the euro and yen, but weaker vs. the pound.

Traders will take in a few macroeconomic data points, including weekly crude inventories and the

Federal Reserve's

beige book, a summary of anecdotal economic information collected by each of the central bank's regional branches.

Abroad, global markets were stronger. The FTSE in London, the DAX in Frankfurt, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng all climbed.