Updated from 4:05 p.m. EDTStocks reversed earlier losses to end slightly higher Thursday, as investors largely ignored some weak economic data and discouraging corporate news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 2 points at 9041, while the Nasdaq rose 11 points to 1646. The S&P 500 gained 4 points to 990. All three major averages had posted modest losses earlier. "It's a bull market and they're buying every dip," said Peter Blatchford, equity trader at Miller Tabak & Co. "There's just incredible resilience." Blatchford said the strength is surprising, given recent economic data. "They're discounting a big turn and it makes no sense." Initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose to 442,000 in the week ended May 31, from a revised 426,000 the previous week. Economists had expected a decline in new claims. "While we're getting mixed data from other sectors suggesting that the economy is stabilizing, there are very little signs of any pickup in job growth," said Gerald Cohen, senior economist at Merrill Lynch. The employment report for May will be released Friday, and Cohen said he is looking for payrolls to decline by 60,000, with the unemployment rate inching up to 6.1%. Miller Tabak's Tony Crescenzi said if Friday's data shows a loss of several hundred thousand jobs, he believes there is a 60% chance that the Fed will cut rates before the next scheduled meeting. The European Central Bank slashed rates by 50 basis points Thursday to 2%, representing the lowest level for the region in more than 50 years and the lowest since the ECB was created. In other economic news, U.S. factory orders for April came in below projections, falling 2.9% compared with a 2.1% increase in March. Economists were expecting a negative reading of just 1.8%. "Considering jobless claims were nothing short of atrocious, it's very impressive that the market has been hanging in as well as it has," said Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. "People are still betting that the economy will get better in the second half, that we can have a jobless recovery." Thursday's gains were particularly impressive given the recent move up. The Dow and S&P 500 have rallied for the past four days and the Nasdaq was up for two straight days going into Thursday's session. Since hitting a low on March 12, the Dow is up about 22%, the S&P is up about 25% and the Nasdaq has surged 30%. In corporate news, Albertson's ( ABS) posted some weaker-than-expected earnings, citing "worsening economic conditions" and intense competition. The second-largest U.S. supermarket chain also sees full-year earnings falling below market expectations. Shares were down almost 12%, or $2.64, at $19.18.