NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are opening slightly higher amid thin trading as the year heads to a close.

Traders' moods appear to be buoyed by the spate of mostly positive economic news in recent weeks that has raised the mood on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average is up 11 percent for the year.

In early trading Wednesday, the Dow rose 23 points, or 0.2 percent, to 11,599. The S&P 500 was up 2, or than 0.1 percent, to 1,260, and the technology-focused Nasdaq gained 2, or 0.1 percent, to 2,665.

One stock to watch Wednesday is BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. which opened 6 percent higher after reports that a private-equity firm might be interested in acquiring the discount club.