A day when stocks didn’t nose dive by Tom Huddleston, Jr. @FortuneMagazine October 16, 2014, 5:30 PM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons U.S. markets tried something different on Thursday: They didn’t finish the day in free fall. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped for the sixth straight trading session, but only by around 25 points, or 0.2%. Meanwhile, both the Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 ended slightly higher than they started as a fresh batch of positive news about the U.S. economy averted yet another massive sell-off. It wasn’t quite the rebound that many investors had been hoping for following huge declines over the past few weeks in which the markets shed . But it made for a bit of breather. Still, it was another quite volatile day for U.S. stocks as the Dow Jones was down by more than 200 points early in trading before managing to stabilize by the end of the day. The blue-chip index, which closed at 16,117, is currently on its worst losing streak since August of last year and it is now down about 2.8% on the year. Thursday’s moderate losses for the Dow came just a day after the index experienced several wild swings over the course of a few hours that at one point put it down by about 460 points. The Dow finished Wednesday down by 173 points, or 1.1%, after a late-day rebound, while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 finished that day down by 0.3% and 0.8%, respectively. U.S. markets ultimately fared better on Thursday thanks, in part, to the Labor Department’s report that initial jobless claims declined by 23,000 last week to reach their lowest point since April 2000. The Federal Reserve also released numbers showing that industrial production increased by 1% in September, its biggest jump in more than four years. Investors were likely also encouraged by a St. Louis Fed officials comments in favor of the Fed keeping interest rates low. However, even that rash of positive news could not completely outweigh the ongoing concerns that have been weighing down the market in recent weeks, including fear of slowing global economic growth, especially in Europe, along with escalating fears over the worldwide Ebola epidemic. Wednesday’s decline was also inspired, in part, by disappointing U.S. retail data for the month of September. All three indices have seen an especially volatile few weeks recently as the losses have stacked up to leave the Dow Jones down by almost 6% in the past month alone, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have actually fared even worse, dropping by 6.8% and 7.4%, respectively. In that same amount of time, the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), which is referred to as the “fear index,” has almost doubled to more than 25 points.