Updated from 7:13 a.m. EST
Stocks in New York opened Wednesday to the upside as a bailout plan for the U.S. auto sector continues to take shape in Washington.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was climbing 115 points at 8807, and the
was up 9.8 points at 898. The
was gaining 14 points at 1561.
Stocks sold off Tuesday amid a slew of corporate earnings warnigns and negative headlines in the package-delivery sector and despite a less-severe-than-expected decline in monthly pending home sales.
Washington is reportedly on the cusp of an agreement for a $15 billion bailout for the
Big Three automakers
. Under the plan, the government would draw the emergency aid from an existing loan program meant to help the automakers build fuel-efficient vehicles.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was 796.8, a decrease of 7.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis from 857.7 one week earlier. The refinance share of mortgage activity is now 73.7% of total applications, up from 69.1% the previous week.
In company news, insurance behemoth
owes Wall Street firms as much as $10 billion for speculative trades that went south, according to a report in
The Wall Street Journal.
The trades, which the company argues are "credit protection instruments", were not previously detailed, and thus the losses aren't covered in the government's $150 billion bailout package. It remains to be seen how AIG plans to pay them off.
Shifting to commodities, crude oil was rising $1.99 to $44.06 a barrel. Gold was gaining $24.70 to $798.90 an ounce.
An expected OPEC production cut next week could help stabilize oil prices that have fallen with global economic hardships.
Meanwhile, the rates for short-term three month Treasury notes fell below zero -- albeit temporarily -- Wednesday morning. Treasury bill rates turn negative when investors are so risk-averse that they're essentially willing to pay the U.S. government to safeguard their money.
Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were rising in price. The 10-year was gaining 26/32 to yield 2.73%, and the 30-year was adding 1-17/32, yielding 3.11%. The dollar was stronger against the euro, pound, and also the yen.
Overseas, European markets were mixed -- the FTSE in London was down 0.1%, while the DAX in Frankfurt traded up 0.3%, respectively. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng both ended higher.
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