(CNN) — Stocks moved higher in early trading Thursday on positive global economic news. Is the market's recent losing streak about to come to an end?
The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose modestly but have experienced a string of losses over the past few trading sessions. The Dow has ended lower for six straight days, its worst stretch since July 2012.
On Wednesday, stocks fell after the release of minutes from the latest U.S. Federal Reserve meeting. Investors have been in a bearish mood as they consider the possibility that the Fed will soon start pulling back on its massive bond purchase program -- also known as quantitative easing -- which has propped up equity markets.
Investors will continue looking Thursday for hints as to when exactly the Fed will start "tapering" its bond-buying program, as central bankers from across the globe gather for an economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
A retail rout: Several retailers took massive hits Thursday on weak quarterly numbers.
Abercrombie & Fitch shares plummeted after the teen-oriented clothing retailer reported a slump in quarterly sales and profits and a terrible outlook.
Sears Holding reported an uptick in its quarterly losses as revenues continue to fall.
In the world of tech, Hewlett-Packard shares dropped after the company announced its latest earnings on Wednesday, showing that PC sales are still in the dumps. HP is still top stock in the Dow this year though, as investors have high hopes for the turnaround plan of CEO Meg Whitman.
Gap and Pandora Media release results after the market close.
European markets moved solidly higher, after a survey of purchasing managers indicated the region's fragile economic recovery may be gathering pace.
Asian markets ended with mixed numbers. Stocks in Hong Kong popped up by 0.4%, while the Shanghai Composite index declined by 0.3%. This comes after the latest Chinese factory data pointed to a stabilizing economy. Japan's Nikkei dipped by 0.4%
Indian markets also jumped higher after four consecutive trading days of steep losses. The Mumbai Sensex popped up by nearly 2%. Markets have fallen by 11% over the past month due to concerns about a flagging economy, political gridlock and an outflow of foreign investment money.