Stock Market Today: S&P 500 Set for Six Straight Weeks of Gains as Airlines Fly - TheStreet

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 closed its sixth week of straight gains, although its down for the day during this shortened holiday session. Plummeting oil prices proved a boon to retail and airline stocks, balancing out the selloff among energy stocks on the S&P 500. 

OPEC agreed not to cut oil production to address oversupply, but instead said at its Thursday meeting it would maintain current levels of 30 million barrels a day. In a statement, OPEC members said it would take such action "in the interest of restoring market equilibrium."

The crude oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate plummeted 7.7% to $68 a barrel. Oil prices have dropped 35% since mid-year.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Report tumbled 4.2%, Chevron (CVX) - Get Report fell 5.4% and BP (BP) - Get Report dropped 5.5%. The Energy Select Sector ETF (XLE) - Get Report declined 6.4%.

Airline stocks were gaining as investors predicted the slip in gas prices might benefit the carriers' profitability. Southwest Airlines (LUV) - Get Report added 6.5%, Delta Air Lines (DAL) - Get Report climbed 5.5%, and United Continental (UAL) - Get Report gained 8.2%.

Retailers were also rallying, buoyed by the hope that lower gasoline prices will stimulate consumer spending. Walmart (WMT) - Get Report , Costco (COST) - Get Report , Target (TGT) - Get Report and Sears (SHLD) were all higher.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.25% in the final minutes of trading, after spending much of the session flat. The index remained at record highs, just 8 points from its all-time peak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.04%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq futures were up 0.09%.

European markets were mixed as the eurozone reported a slip in inflation in November to 0.3% from 0.4%, while unemployment remained high at 11.5%. In Germany, the region's largest economy, October retail sales surged 1.9%, better than an estimated 1.5% increase.

Stoxx 600 companies are expected to post third-quarter earnings growth of 11.6%, according to Thomson Reuters data. Of the companies that have reported so far, just over half of the index, 52%, have beat analysts' earnings estimates. 

-- Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.