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Updated from 9:14 a.m. EST

Stocks in the U.S. opened with weakness Wednesday, after a new pile of data releases pointed to additional economic pain.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

was losing 149 points to 8331, and the

S&P 500

was lower by 14 to 843. The


dropped 14 points to 1451.

On Tuesday, stocks fluctuated following the

Federal Reserve's

announcement of an $800 billion program to bolster mortgage- and consumer-lending markets. The blue-chip indices finished with gains, while the Nasdaq ended lower.

The schedule Wednesday was heavily loaded with economic reports.

The Census Bureau reported that

durable-goods orders

declined 6.2% in October, a bigger drop than the 2.5% expected by economists. The September figure was revised down to a 0.2% decline from a 0.8% increase.

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The Commerce Department's read on

personal income

showed a 0.3% uptick for October. Analysts had forecast a income growth of 0.1%. Spending slowed by 1%, a sharper fall than expected by economists and a larger dropoff than the 0.3% seen in September.

Weekly initial jobless claims data from the Census Bureau showed claims were down 14,000 to 529,000 for the week ended Nov. 22. The previous claims figures were revised up by 1,000 to 543,000.

Due out later are a November manufacturing index reading from the Chicago Purchasing Managers Association, a consumer-sentiment survey from the University of Michigan and the Commerce Department's new-home sales data.

Outside of domestic indicators,

China's central bank

announced it cut its benchmark interest rate by 1.08%, a move that reflects increasing concern that one of the world's fastest-growing economies has slowed considerably.

Troubles weren't confined to Asia. The

European Commission

on Wednesday called for a $256 billion economic stimulus plan to help the continent alleviate its own recessionary woes.

As data releases painted a picture of the downturn, reports indicated that President-elect Barack Obama would tap former Federal Reserve Chair

Paul Volcker

to head a White House advisory board geared at steering the U.S. through the current financial turmoil.

As for the day's corporate earnings, equipment maker


(DE) - Get Deere & Company Report

announced an 18% decline in fourth-quarter profit.



(TIF) - Get Tiffany & Co. Report

, meanwhile, announced a 57% decline in earnings on flagging U.S. sales.

In other company news, Fitch Ratings cut its debt rating on


(TM) - Get Toyota Motor Corporation Report

, putting a negative outlook on the company. Both domestic and foreign automakers have had a rough go of it thanks to flagging demand.

Canadian telecom company


(BCE) - Get BCE Inc. Report

, announced that its leveraged buyout may not take place by its scheduled date of Dec. 11.

Among financial firms,

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (The) Report

ended discussions with


( PC) about a potential sale of Goldman's stake in


. Goldman cited concerns about the price and deal structure as it walked away.

In the commodities space, crude oil was climbing $1.92 to $52.69 a barrel. Gold was slipping 50 cents to $820 an ounce.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were rising in price. The 10-year was adding 16/32 to yield 3.05%, and the 30-year was up 1-6/32, yielding 3.56%. The dollar was higher vs. the euro and pound but softening against the yen.

Globally speaking, European exchanges such as the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were trading lower. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed with losses, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended with gains.