Stocks rose at the open on Thursday as strong uptake by investors in Greece's debt swap fed optimism a deal could be completed by a deadline later in the day, staving off a messy default.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 69.48 points, or 0.54 percent, to 12,906.81. The S&P 500 Index <.INX> gained 9.19 points, or 0.68 percent, to 1,361.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 20.39 points, or 0.69 percent, to 2,956.08.

An unexpected rise in new claims for unemployment benefits was not enough to change perceptions the labor market was strengthening, a key factor in the current stocks rally.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)