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Morgan Stanley, the sole remaining wirehouse broker-dealer not owned by a bank, is praising New York Attorney General Cuomo for “taking strong action to root out improper short selling of financial stocks,” the company says.

“By initiating a wide-ranging investigation of this manipulative and fraudulent conduct, Attorney General Cuomo is showing decisive leadership in trying to help stabilize the financial markets. We also support his call for the SEC to impose a temporary freeze on short selling of financial stocks, given the extreme and unprecedented movements in the market that are unsupported by the fundamentals of individual stocks. The FSA has already put in place a freeze on short selling in financial stocks that is designed to protect the integrity of markets in the UK, and we applaud their actions,” Morgan Stanley said in a statement on September 18.

Its stock rose nearly 4 percent to close the day at 22.55. During the day, it had traded as low as 11.70

The company is reportedly in talks with Wachovia over a possible sale, but also may be pursuing sale of a stake to Chinese Investment Corp.

The Wall Street Journal has also reported that top executives at the broker-dealer, including John Mack and James Gorman are asking the company 8,350 advisors to “assure clients that their assets are fully segregated from the company’s balance sheet … and insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corp., and other layers of insurance.”