NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks on Wednesday started off hesitantly higher as investors weighed a big loss from bond insurer Ambac Financial Group Inc. against better-than-forecast profits at aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 5.29 points to 12,725.52.
The S&P 500 rose 0.91 point to 1,376.85, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 8.23 points to 2,385.17.
U.S. stocks slumped on Tuesday on disappointing results and guidance from technology players including Texas Instruments Inc. and consumer stocks like Coach Inc. .
Ahead of weekly inventories data, crude-oil futures edged down 91 cents to $117.16 a barrel.
Among companies reporting earnings, aircraft manufacturer Boeing detailed a 38% profit rise, sending the stock up 1.8%.
Ambac Financial reported a $1.66 billion loss, while WellPoint cut its earnings outlook for a second time this year.
Shares of United Parcel Service Inc. edged lower ahead of the open after the globe's biggest package-delivery company offered a less-than-positive outlook on the economy.
VMware Inc. climbed 8.7% after it reported a 5% profit rise on faster-than-forecast sales growth. Jefferies analyst Katherine Egbert said the billings growth of 80% at the firm mostly held by EMC Corp. was "impressive."
Shares of EMC were up 3.6% in early trading.
Apple Inc. reports results after the close. According to a report on Forbes.com, it's buying chip designer P.A. Semi for $278 million.
Yahoo Inc. late Tuesday said its profit surged on gains from the IPO of Alibaba.com, but was relatively flat otherwise.
Overseas, Asian stock markets generally posted modest rises, with the Nikkei 225 up 0.2% in Tokyo. In afternoon trading, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.5% in London.
By Kate Gibson