The S&P 500 index rose 0.24% on Thursday to close at 1,148.46 points while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.28%, to end at 10,710.55.

The S&P 500 and Dow indices closed higher on Thursday just ahead of Intel earnings and despite cautious comments earlier today from the ECB president, as well as disappointing retail, unemployment, and inventory data.

According to Bloomberg, all US economic data released at 8:30 am today missed expectations. Retail sales were down 0.3% in Decmeber, missing expectations of a 0.5% gain. Unemployment claims climbed 11,000 to 444,000, more than the expected 437,000. Finally, business inventories were up 0.4%, more than the expected gain of 0.1%.

ECB President Claude Trichet was cautious about the European economic recovery in a press conference this morning, remarking that the “recovery process is likely to be uneven and that the outlook remains subject to uncertainty”.

Low-risk assets such as the US Treasuries and the Japanese yen traded sharply higher after the various economic announcements this morning.

The S&P traded briefly down, before rallying to close up for the day in anticipation of Intel earnings. The technology giant released its fourth quarter results after the market closed. It reported earnings of $0.40 per share, beating analyst expectation of $0.30, according to data compiled by FactSet.

Intel closed up 2.34% at $21.45 for the day, and continued to climb in after-hours trading.