Stocks Firm In Early Going

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock prices are higher in early trading, after Tuesday’s 420- point gain in the Dow.

In the early going, the Dow is up 31 points.

The Nasdaq Composite Index is ahead seven points and the Standard-and-Poor’s 500 Stock Index is up six points.

Before the opening bell, investors were treated to better-than-expected results at Morgan Stanley, on the heels of Tuesday’s earnings from Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs. They also surprised to the upside.

In an attempt to ease the credit crunch, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, released details on its plan to ease capital requirements. The change is expected to result in an immediate injection of up to $200 billion into the market for mortgage-backed securities.

Crude futures have headed lower in electronic trading.

Visa has launched the largest initial public offering in U.S. history, selling 406 million shares at $44 each to raise $17.9 billion. The world’s largest credit card processor is not a lender, and many investors are betting that it will easily survive the faltering U.S. economy and credit climate.