U.S. stocks edged up after a lower start on Wednesday, a day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economy did not grow as much as had been hoped this year. Erasing its drop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 3 points to 12,074. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index opened flat at 1,285. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 6 points to 2,695. The news doesn't seem to be getting any better. Ciena is down 13% after missing estimates. The techs in general are weak. Oppenheimer made cautious comments on Research in Motion ahead of earnings next week. The stock is not reacting much. Marvell is lower even though it received an upgrade. Ebay is one of the few techs higher on an upgrade. The commodities are weak this morning. Exxon Mobil is bucking the trend up 2% after a big oil discovery in the Gulf. Solar company, LDK Solar is down 3% after reporting earnings last night. SunPower is higher even though it was downgraded this morning. Molycorp is down 8% after issuing more shares. The financials are bouncing a little, but no real conviction there. Frustrated with their stock price, Wells Fargo made comments that their stock is on sale and that they would be using their $200 million allotment to buy their stock back. But the stock is only modestly higher. Franklin Resources, Jefferies, Raymond James Financial, and Knight Trading are modestly higher on upgrades. Capital One is also higher on takeover rumors. Visa and MasterCard are lower pending a Senate vote regarding new credit card rules. Through the morning the averages remained in the red with the financials modestly in the green. No buyers what-so-ever out there. In the retail space Bob Evans is jumping 10% even though they missed estimates. Gap is lower after making cautious comments about business and rising costs. Through the morning the price of oil jumped as talking within OPEC to increase production broke down. Most oil related stocks are now in the green. Caterpillar raised their dividend and reaffirmed earnings, but the stock remains in the red. Target also raised their dividend. In the afternoon the averages momentarily stopped selling off on encouraging data out of the Beige Book report. However, in the last hour, the selling accelerated with few stocks left in the green. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 21 points at 12,048, led by more than 1% drops in Caterpillar, Alcoa and American Express. It was the Dow's longest losing stretch since July. The S&P 500 ended down 5 points at 1,279, led by drops in materials and financial sectors. The Nasdaq Composite fell 26 points, or 1%, to 2,675.
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