Stocks firm to begin the session

October 20, 2008 7:55:49 AM PDT
Stock prices are higher in early trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 63 points in today's early going. The Nasdaq Composite Index is ahead 18 points and the Standard-and-Poor's 500 Stock Index is up 9 points.

Signs of easing in the credit market continue. Demand for Treasury bills, regarded as the safest assets around, has lessened but remains relatively high in a sign that there is still much fear in the markets. Bank-to-bank lending rates have dipped for a sixth straight day. The London interbank offered rate, or Libor, for three-month dollar loans fell 0.36 percent to 4.06 percent, the biggest daily drop since January.

Still to come, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is to testify before the House Budget Committee. The Conference Board releases the leading indicators for September.

Oil prices have firmed with an OPEC production cut later this week seen as all but certain. Meanwhile, the price of gasoline in the U.S. continues to drop.