U.S. Stocks Open on a Rebound

The major indices open higher Thursday as WaMu shops itself and Kraft replaces AIG on the Dow.
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Updated from 9:11 a.m. EDT

Stocks in New York bounced higher at the open Thursday after the previous day's heavy credit crunch-induced losses.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

climbed 153 points to 10,763, and the

S&P 500

tacked on 18 points to 1175. The

Nasdaq

jumped 45 points to 2143.

On Wednesday, stocks took a severe beating following the government bailout of insurance firm

AIG

(AIG) - Get Report

, which reminded investors of the severity and scope of the credit crisis. Pessimism on Wall Street was ramping in the wake of the AIG bailout, a bankruptcy for

Lehman Brothers

(LEH)

and a last-minute merger between

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

and

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

.

Ahead of Thursday's trading, more news emerged from the struggling financials space.

Washington Mutual

(WM) - Get Report

hired

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

to help it prepare for a sale, while private equity firm TPG had helped clear the way for a merger by waiving an anti-dilution clause that would make WaMu pay for any dilution related to a capital raise or buyout.

Dow Jones replaced AIG with

Kraft

(KFT)

on its 30-stock Industrial Average index, and Lehman Brothers ceased trading on the

New York Stock Exchange

and instead took residence on the pink sheets under the ticker LEHMQ.PK.

Meanwhile,

The New York Times

reported that

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

was in discussions to merge with

Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

. The Government of Singapore Investment Corp. said it would take a stake in Morgan if approached. On Wednesday, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs shares both faced pressure as investors speculated about which financial firm would be the next to fall.

The

Federal Reserve

and other central banks announced Thursday they would coordinate efforts to mitigate damage from the credit crisis. The Fed said it would provide an additional $180 billion for its temporary reciprocal currency arrangements. This added support would provide dollar funding for both term and overnight liquidity operations by other central banks.

As for earnings, shipping firm

FedEx

(FDX) - Get Report

before the opening bell reported first-quarter earnings of $384 million, or $1.23 a share, vs. $494 million, or $1.58 a share, a year ago. Despite the drop in EPS, the results met Thomson Reuters analyst estimates.

In the commodities space, crude oil was rising $2.25 at $99.41. Gold was up $25 at $875.50 an ounce, after settling up $70 an ounce on Wednesday, the biggest one-day price jump ever.

Shifting to economic data, the Department of Labor's reported a surprise rise in initial jobless claims to a seasonally adjusted 455,000 for the week ended Sept. 13, up 10,000 from the prior week. Analysts had expected the figure to dip to 440,000, but the report reflects job losses associated with Hurricane Gustav. Traders also will be taking in the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's manufacturing index today.

Longer-dated Treasury securities were falling in price. The 10-year note was down 13/32, yielding 3.46%. The 30-year was 17/32 lower to yield 4.1%.

Overseas, European indices including the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt were gaining ground. Asian markets, such as the Nikkei in Tokyo and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, finished in the red.