Bank stocks lead early gains after raising their dividends and announcing share buybacks

Financial stocks are leading an early gain in U.S. trading a day after a number of banks announced dividend increases and stock buybacks.

Morgan Stanley gained 3.5 percent in the first few minutes of trading Thursday. The bank raised its dividend and announced a share buyback after getting permission to do so from the Federal Reserve. Many other banks also rose.

Dollar General gained 3 percent after reporting higher sales and earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96 points, or 0.6 percent, to at 17,738 as of 9:35 am. Eastern time.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose eight points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,049. The Nasdaq composite rose six points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,856.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.06 percent.