After opening with a drop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.04%) rebounded in early trading to rise 30 points into the green as of 11:30 a.m. EST. Dow Jones component Cisco (CSCO 1.22%) was a notable underperfomer, while shares of Sprint (S) and NVIDIA (NVDA -3.22%) made gains.

Retail sales come in below expectations
The Dow Jones' move to the upside stands in contrast to U.S. retail sales numbers for January, which came in below expectations on Thursday. Economists had been looking for a monthly increase of 0.3%; instead, sales fell 0.4%.

While it is only one data point, the data is troubling for the U.S. economy, and by extension the stock market. Poor retail sales data suggests that U.S. consumers are struggling and not spending as much as economists had anticipated.

Sprint jumps after SoftBank urges change
Sprint shares were up 5% following comments from the wireless carrier's majority owner, Japan's SoftBank.

In an interview, SoftBank head Masayoshi Son reiterated his goal to make No. 3 Sprint one of the top wireless providers in the U.S. He argued that further consolidation in the space could be neccessary, and at any rate, Sprint's management must step up in its efforts to turn around the struggling company.

NVIDIA rallies on earnings
NVIDIA's shares were up 1.4%  following a strong earnings report. NVIDIA's earnings and revenue came in better than expected on the strength of its GPU sales and its Tegra mobile processors.

Additionally, NVIDIA offered guidance for the coming quarter that narrowly exceeded analysts' expectations.

Cisco slammed following another bad quarter
Cisco shares were down almost 5% early on Thursday, making it by far the worst performing stock in the Dow Jones.

The move lower follows yet another disappointing earnings report from a Cisco -- a troubling development that has become a trend in recent months. During the fiscal second quarter, Cisco's revenue declined 8% from the prior year, while its net income was down 55%.

Cisco's management was largely unfazed, saying the company's performance was in line with its expectations. Still, a shrinking business is an unfortunate development for the networking specialist's investors, and the sell-off on Thursday is hardly surprising given the company's ongoing struggles.

Cisco's weakness largely stems from its exposure to emerging markets -- in places like Russia, Brazil, and Mexico, Cisco's networking products are not selling particularly well.