Stocks Firm In Early Going

Stock prices are higher in early trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up in today's early going. The Nasdaq Composite Index is ahead and the Standard-and-Poor's 500 Stock Index is up.

Investors are reacting to news this morning that billionaire investor Warren Buffett says he has offered to help out troubled bond insurers, easing some of Wall Street's concerns about further deterioration in the credit markets.

Buffett says his Berkshire Hathaway holding company has offered a second level of insurance on up to 800 billion dollars in municipal bonds. He made the reinsurance offer to bond insurers Ambac Financial Group, MBIA and Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., known as FGIC.

General Motors has announced a new round of buyouts to all 74,000 of its U.S. hourly workers represented by the United Auto Workers. The company reports losses of 38.7 billion dollars in 2007, the largest yearly loss for a car company.

The federal government is expected to announce details of a plan involving the six largest mortgage lenders to help at-risk borrowers with all types of mortgages retain their homes.

Oil prices have eased a day after surging almost $2 on concerns about potential supply disruptions in Venezuela and Nigeria.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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