Updated from 4:21 p.m. EST

Stocks on Wall Street ended a choppy trading session Wednesday with losses as investors were dealt another round of earnings reports and weighed a cut in oil production from OPEC.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

ended down 99.8 points, or 1.1%, at 8824.34, and the

S&P 500

lost 8.76 points, or 1%, to 904.42. The


finished down 10.58 points, or 0.7%, at 1579.31.

Oil-exporting cartel


said Wednesday it will cut its production target by another 2.2 million barrels a day starting in January.

The cut, which could help stabilize oil prices that have fallen with global economic hardships, was slightly more than expected. But crude oil settled $3.54 lower at $40.06 a barrel.

"Right now the market doesn't care about the supply part of the equation," says Darin Newsom, DTN Senior Analyst. "It's dealing with lack of demand from consumers -- and investors - at this point," he says.

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

helped set the tone Wednesday morning, posting a wider-than-expected loss ahead of the opening bell. The bank holding company said it lost $2.37 billion, or $2.34 a share, in the fiscal fourth quarter. Analysts had forecast a loss of 34 cents a share. Shares, however, added 2.3% to $16.50.

Image placeholder title


(C) - Get Report

garnered headlines and gave up 4.9% to $7.83 Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal

reported that federal banking regulators are involved in the internal discussions about the bank's strategic direction and are discouraging executives from pursuing certain acquisitions. Separately, the

Financial Times

reported that Citi plans to merge its investment and corporate banking operations in an attempt to break down barriers between its businesses.

ConAgra Foods

(CAG) - Get Report

recorded in-line second-quarter profit of $168.1 million, or 37 cents a share, which marks a 31% slump from a year ago when the maker of Chef Boyardee and other brands posted $244.8 million, or 50 cents a share. Investors gave the stock an 8% bump, however, to $16.25.

General Mills

(GIS) - Get Report

posted second-quarter earnings of $378.2 million, or $1.09 a share, which was down from the $390.5 million, or $1.14 a share, the cereal maker recorded a year earlier. Shares rose by a dime to $61.35.

Citing weakening demand for its hard drives,

Western Digital

(WDC) - Get Report

will cut 2,500 jobs, or about 5%, of its global workforce, as well as executive pay. Shares ticked up 1.8% to $12.72.

As U.S. automakers

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report



(F) - Get Report



continued to wait on word from the White House of an

auto-industry rescue plan

, Tokyo-based


(HMC) - Get Report

cut its profit forecast and announced a 10% pay cut for its managers.

Honda shares gave up 7.1% to $21.22, while GM added 2.8% to $4.37 and Ford edged up a penny to $3.14.


analyst actions



(AAPL) - Get Report

sank 6.6% to $89.16 Wednesday after suffering a downgrade to perform at Oppenheimer. Apple says

Steve Jobs

will not appear at Macworld 2009, and that news again brings the CEO's health into question.

Image placeholder title

Meanwhile, the fallout from the

Bernard Madoff

scandal continued to play out. Late Tuesday,

Securities and Exchange Commission

Chairman Christopher Cox demanded an internal investigation of why regulators from his agency failed for a decade to investigate the Wall Street money manager, who last week was charged with running an elaborate and far-reaching Ponzi scheme that lost an estimated $50 billion for investors. A formal investigation of complaints would have forced Madoff to provide documentation years ago.

On Tuesday, the Fed cut its federal funds rate target to a range of 0% to 0.25%, a steep cut that surprised Wall Street and set a historic low for the key rate.

On Wednesday, the 10-year Treasury was up 27.5/32 to yield 2.2%, while the 30-year note was up 2 15.5/32 to yield 2.6%. The


was mixed against other major currencies. Gold was rising 60 cents to $869.10 an ounce.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended higher. In Europe, Germany's DAX and France's CAC-40 edged lower.

Image placeholder title

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.