Stocks ticked higher Wednesday, with Boeing landing the top-gainer spot on the Dow after a solid quarterly report from the jet maker.
Boeing reported its profit rose 38 percent , more than expected, driven by strong demand for commercial jets. The aerospace giant also backed its full-year forecast of $5.70 to $5.85 a share.
Meanwhile, Ambac, shares skidded 25 percent after the bond insurer reported a loss of $1.66 billion , or $11.69 a share, compared with a profit of $213.3 million, or $2.02 a share, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, the loss was $6.93 per share, more than three times the expected loss, as the company wrote down $1.73 billion for missed payments on complex investments backed by home loans.
Safeco shares jumped about 50 percent after Liberty Mutual agreed to buy the property and casualty insurer for $6.2 billion . The deal would make diversified insurer Liberty the fifth largest U.S. property and casualty insurer.
Another day, another IPO.
American Water Works dropped 5 percent in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "AWK." Late Tuesday, 58 million shares were priced at $21.50. Both the number of shares and offering price were lower than expected. The IPO had already been delayed once, in November, due to weak market conditions.
That was a stark contrast to Tuesday's IPO of fertilizer company Intrepid Potash , which soared 58 percent on its first day on the Big Board. The company raised $960 million with its initial public offering, priced late Monday at $32 a share. The stock trades as "IPI."
Commercial airlines issued dismal quarterly reports.
Delta reported a loss far worse than expected , citing soaring fuel costs. Delta is preparing to merge with Northwest Airlines, which also posted a larger loss than expected.
Internet portal -- and Microsoft target -- Yahoo reported a profit after the bell Tuesday that edged past expectations but analysts said it was unlikely to cause to Microsoft to raise its offer of $31 a share.
Apple ticked higher ahead of earnings from the iPhone and iPod maker, due out after the closing bell. Analysts expect $1.07 a share, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.
More troubles appeared for the housing industry, as an industry group reported a sharp drop in mortgage applications in the face of rising interest rates.
Still to Come:
WEDNESDAY: Crude inventories; earnings from Amazon, Apple and Pulte HomesTHURSDAY: Jobless claims; durable-goods orders; new-home sales; Earnings from Aetna, Bristol-Myers, ConocoPhillips, Motorola, Pepsi, American Express and MicrosoftFRIDAY: Consumer sentiment; earnings from Ericsson, Honda
Send comments to email@example.com .