Updated from 4:04 p.m. ESTIt was a belated and tepid Happy New Year for Wall Street. Stocks closed mostly higher Thursday, posting their first gains of 2005, as the nation's chain stores reported solid December sales and a rise in jobless claims calmed fears of a hawkish Federal Reserve. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 25.05 points, or 0.2%, to 10,622.88, snapping a six-session, 225-point skid; and the S&P 500 added 4.15 points, or 0.3%, to 1187.89. The Nasdaq's 2004 slide stretched to four sessions, as the tech index lost 1.24 points, or 0.06%, to 2090, having briefly regained the 2100 level earlier. The 10-year Treasury bond was up 4/32 in price to yield 4.26%. Volume on the NYSE was 1.57 billion shares, with advancers beating decliners by a ratio of 9 to 7. Volume on the Nasdaq was 2.17 billion shares, with decliners and advancers even. "Today was a huge day for retailers, which started a positive tone in the market," said Brian Williamson, an equity trader with Boston Company Asset Management. "There's still a lack of conviction right now, which may change, but the move higher is encouraging." The dollar was higher against the yen and euro for a fifth consecutive session. February crude closed sharply higher, up $2.17 to $45.56 a barrel, on signs OPEC members had followed through on an agreement to cut production in January. The Philadelphia Stock Exhange index rose 1.9% because of the spike. Investors got some clarity on the holiday retail picture Thursday with the monthly release of chain-store sales reports. Wal-Mart ( WMT), Target ( TGT) and Kohl's ( KSS) all reported decent same-store growth for the month. Target and Kohl's were forced to lower earnings guidance, however, because of aggressive discounting. Target dropped 5.4% to $48.50 and Kohl's was off 2.2% to $47.02. Wal-Mart said same-store sales rose by 3% in December, matching prior forecasts but falling short of last year's 4.3% increase. The retail giant expects January same-store sales growth of 2% to 4%. Total sales increased by 13% to $38.4 billion from a year ago. Shares gained 76 cents, or 1.4%, to $54.05. The big story was specialty clothing retailers, most of which blew away Wall Street comp forecasts and saw their shares rise. American Eagle ( AEOS), Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF), Hot Topic ( HOTT) and Chico's ( CHS) all rose sharply after wiping out sales estimates. Urban Outfitters ( URBN) also had a big month but saw its shares sink after last year's doubling.