NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Energy stocks said goodbye to short-lived highs achieved over the session as crude oil closed below $60 a barrel for the first time since July 2009. West Texas Intermediate slid more than 1% to $59.85 after plummeting 5% on Wednesday as OPEC cut demand forecasts for 2015.
The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) climbed 0.09%, paring gains of over 2% earlier in the session. Mid-cap oil explorers and drillers were among the hardest hit with Transocean (RIG) down 1.9% and Nabors Industries (NBR) falling 2.4%.
Retail stocks were leading benchmark indices higher after an unexpected jump in November consumer spending presented the silver lining of crashing crude prices.
Though down from session highs, the S&P 500 remained 0.57% higher, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.51% and the Nasdaq popped 0.73%.
The SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT rose 1.3%. Urban Outfitters (URBN) , the best performer on the S&P, climbed 7.8% following a Securities and Exchange Commission filing in which the retailer disclosed fourth-quarter comparable sales in the low-single digits after a negative result in its third quarter.
Lululemon (LULU) added 9.3% after beating third-quarter earnings estimates, though gains were restricted as operating margins were pressured. Staples (SPLS) and Office Depot (ODP) were spiking after activist investor Starboard Value substantially raised its stake in both, a move which could put pressure on the companies to merger, The Wall Street Journal reported.