Stocks Build On Gains - TheStreet

Updated from 9:48 a.m. EDT

The U.S. stock market was climbing Wednesday 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 adding 46 points to 11,649, and the

S&P 500

was tacking on 9 points to 1286. The


rose 28 points to 2332.

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. Shares were recently up 6%.


(BA) - Get Report



(T) - Get Report

, two members of the Dow's 30-stock club, reported before the open. Boeing shares tumbled 4.5% as the company reaffirmed 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. The stock inched up 2.4%.

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 Wall Street consensus

. The solid quarter owed largely to a decline in restructuring charges and overseas sales buoyed by a weak dollar. Fellow drugmaker Wyeth also

edged out an earnings beat

and raised guidance.

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 homeowners as well as mortgage companies

Fannie Mae



Freddie Mac


. The White House press secretary said this morning that President Bush, who previously had opposed the housing bill, has now elected to sign it.



(COST) - Get Report

saw shares drop 12% after it issued a warning that, due to rising energy costs, its fourth-quarter profit would be far below the Street's view. The company also announced a $1 billion share buyback plan.


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 for September delivery was recently down $1.86 to $126.56 a barrel after losing $3 Tuesday. August gold futures were shedding $22.60 to $925.90 an ounce.

As for the bond market, 10-year Treasury notes were down 16/32 in price to yield 4.16%. The 30-year was off 24/32, yielding 4.71%. The dollar was stronger against the euro and yen, but weaker vs. the pound.

Looking at economic data, weekly crude oil inventories declined by 1.6 million barrels, while gasoline inventories rose by 2.8 million barrels. Refinery utilization declined 2.4 percentage points to 87.1%. Later, the

Federal Reserve

will release its 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.