Stocks opened higher on Friday on reassuring comments from Moody's about the credit rating outlook for the United States and a flurry of upbeat quarterly results from major retailers.

Sears Holdings Corp , which owns the Sears and Kmart chains, reported a surprise first-quarter profit on Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 24.38 points, or 0.29 percent, to 8,316.51. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 2.07 points, or 0.23 percent, to 890.40. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 5.84 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,701.09.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)