Stocks opened higher on Thursday, with sentiment buoyed by key government data that reinforced hopes that the recession may be abating and investors digested news from General Motors that a bondholders committee supported a new debt-for-equity exchange offer.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 63.80 points, or 0.77 percent, at 8,363.82. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 7.33 points, or 0.82 percent, at 900.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 15.24 points, or 0.88 percent, at 1,746.32.

(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)