Stocks opened higher on Thursday as better-than-expected results from Morgan Stanley lifted optimism over the battered financial sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 41.17 points, or 0.33 percent, to 12,613.08. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 6.44 points, or 0.49 percent, to 1,332.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 3.51 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,817.74.