Stocks opened higher on Wednesday following news that the government would extend aid to life insurers and Pulte Homes'
announcement that it would buy rival home builder Centex in a $1.3 billion stock deal.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 34.01 points, or 0.44 percent, at 7,823.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 6.07 points, or 0.74 percent, at 821.62. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 18.30 points, or 1.17 percent, at 1,579.91.

(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)