US stocks bounced higher on Thursday as the market took a breather from the mid-year malaise that began in May.

The S&P 500 Index rose 9.44 points, or 0.74 percent, to close at 1,289.00.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 75.42 points, or 0.63 percent, to end at 12,124.36.  The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.35 percent.

Prior to Thursday's rally, stocks have fallen for 6 consecutive sessions.  Since the beginning of May, US stocks have steadily declined.

For 2011, the Wall Street adage of Sell in May and Go Away has proved prescient so far.  A number of factors have contributed to the decline, including a slowdown in the global economy, higher oil prices, the looming end of QE2, and the fading of fiscal stimulus.

Negative US economic data reinforced and confirmed these fears.

On Thursday, economic data was both good and bad.  The trade deficit shrank as exports rose.  However, the weekly initial jobless claims continue to paint a bleak picture of the jobs market.

Thursday's rally can be largely attributed to bargain hunting, a technical bounce, or any number of similar terms.  In down trends, markets almost never go straight down.  Instead, down days and interspersed with up days.  Thursday was one of those up days.