Stocks fell at the open on Wednesday after a batch of corporate earnings mostly beat lowered expectations, but the key financial sector continued to show signs of weakness.

A third-consecutive quarterly loss at Morgan Stanley and rising credit losses at Wells Fargo & Co dented recent optimism about the financial sector's recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 43.45 points, or 0.49 percent, to 8,872.49. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 6.02 points, or 0.63 percent, to 948.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> shed 7.85 points, or 0.41 percent, to 1,908.35.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)