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Stocks open higher after automaker bailout news

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Wall Street has opened higher as investors cheered the government's pledge to lend as much as $17.4 billion to the U.S. automaking industry.       

The decision to help the struggling companies comes after a $14 billion bailout for Detroit automakers failed to emerge from the Senate last week.       

The companies' cash flows have been dwindling to a slow trickle due to the weak economy and credit crunch. The White House will let automakers draw $13.4 billion in short-term financing, and another $4 billion will be added later.       

Investors have also veen worried about broader job market ramifications of a bankruptcy of an automaker like General Motors Corp. or Chrysler LLC.       

In the first minutes of trading, the Dow is up 107 points to the 8,712 level.

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