NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks ended Thursday modestly higher as investors focused on upbeat earnings and deal news and shrugged off weak economic data. Stocks opened lower after weaker-than-expected retail sales in January and a surprise uptick in weekly jobless claims but quickly reversed losses and moved higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 63.65 points, or 0.4%, higher at 16,027.59. The S&P 500 closed 10.57 points, or 0.6%, higher at 1,829.83. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials have risen in 5 out of 6 past sessions. The Nasdaq Composite was the best performing index, rising 39.38 points, or 0.9%, to 4,240.67. The tech-heavy index has risen for the sixth consecutive session and has gained 1.5% since the beginning of the year.