Stocks opened slightly higher on Thursday following six days of losses as a narrowed U.S. trade deficit was seen as one positive point in a recent trend of discouraging economic data.

But the mood remained fragile with many analysts expecting the S&P 500 to retest its March 2010 lows after falling more than 6 percent since a peak in May. An unexpected uptick in weekly jobless claims reinforced the cautious tone and provided little room for optimism.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 33.90 points, or 0.28 percent, at 12,082.84. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 3.32 points, or 0.26 percent, at 1,282.88. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 1.83 points, or 0.07 percent, at 2,677.21.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)