Stocks are opening higher as solid economic news and strong corporate earnings highlight the economy's growing momentum.

The government said Thursday that orders to factories for long-lasting manufactured goods increased in December for the second straight month as companies bought more machinery and equipment. New claims for unemployment benefits rose only modestly.

Manufacturing conglomerate 3M rose 1.5 percent after its fourth-quarter profit beat Wall Street's estimates. Caterpillar rose 3 percent after beating analysts' estimates last quarter. The heavy equipment maker said it expect to do the same this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average is up 52 points, or 0.4 percent, at 12,809. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is up 4, or 0.3 percent, at 1,329. The Nasdaq composite average is up 10, or 0.4 percent, at 2,828.