Stocks opened slightly higher on Thursday after weekly data showing an unexpected rise in first-time claims for jobless benefits was overshadowed by positive sentiment as a jump in Chinese equities sparked a rally in Asian and European markets.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 13.53 points, or 0.15 percent, to 9,292.69. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 3.19 points, or 0.32 percent, to 999.65. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 6.97 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,976.21.

(Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)