Updated from 9:11 a.m. EST
U.S. stocks opened with losses Wednesday, as reports suggested the Treasury Department, the
and other government agencies were tweaking their plans to intervene in the most troubled corners of the financial markets.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
lost 173 points to 8521, and the
gave back 19 points to 880. The
slid 26 points to 1555.
The status of programs to quell turmoil in the financial space was occupying investor attention.
The Wall Street Journal
reported ahead of Wednesday's session that the Treasury may begin to require companies to raise private money before gaining access to the $700 billion
also reported that
, which on Monday had become a bank-holding company and thus eligible for funds from the Fed, was attempting to get $3.5 billion in capital injections from the government.
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is also slated to offer an update on the progress of the TARP Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a report by
indicated the Fed is attempting to become the main regulator for the credit-default swaps market. The Fed and other government agencies are working to develop a clearinghouse for the $33 trillion CDS market.
The government also was moving toward aid for the automakers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
suggested financial assistance for the industry, which includes
. GM and Ford last Friday announced troubling quarterly losses that led some to question the future viability of the U.S. auto sector.
In the energy sector,
announced it would take its buyout bid for
straight to shareholders after NRG on Monday rejected Exelon's offer.
As for technology companies,
is working on a deal with
to provide the default search software for Verizon Wireless' phones, according to a report by the
Among corporate earnings,
swung to a quarterly loss on losses related to the financial crisis.
In retail, department store operator
announced a third-quarter loss on declining sales. Elsewhere among merchants, electronics vendor
, citing declines in consumer spending, lowered its earnings forecasts for the remainder of its fiscal year.
Turning to economic forecasts, the Bank of England predicted a decline in Britain's inflation to below 2% next year, but also said that inflation could decline yet further on an economic downturn.
Looking at commodities, crude oil was declining $1.03 to $58.30 a barrel, as the
International Energy Agency
predicted global energy demand would rise 1.6% annually between 2006 and 2030 and called for new investments to avert a supply shortage. Gold was down $7.20 to $725.60 an ounce.
Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were rising in price. The 10-year was up 16/32 to yield 3.68%, and the 30-year was up 18/32, yielding 4.16%. The dollar was higher vs. the euro and pound but losing ground against the yen.
Overseas, European exchanges, such as the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt, were trading lower. As for
, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed on the downside.