NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Wall Street witnessed the silver lining of sliding gasoline prices on Thursday as an unexpected jump in November consumer spending boosted retail stocks. Benchmark indices made a good show of partially recouping punishing losses suffered over Wednesday's session, though still have a way to go to end the week in positive territory.
Some of the day's initial gusto in which the S&P 500 surged 1.5% was exhausted after crude oil slipped below the psychological $60-a-barrel level. The S&P 500 closed 0.45% higher, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.37% and the Nasdaq popped 0.52%.
Energy stocks retreated from earlier highs as West Texas Intermediate closed below $60 for the first time since July 2009. The day's decline was on top of a 5% dive on Wednesday after OPEC cut demand forecasts for 2015.
The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) slipped 0.07%, paring gains of over 2% earlier in the session. Mid-cap oil explorers and drillers were among the hardest hit with Transocean (RIG) down 2.1% and Nabors Industries (NBR) falling 3.1%.
"Any time there's a big crisis there's a lot of throwing the baby out with the bathwater," Patty Edwards, managing director for investments at U.S. Bank, said of the energy selloff. "Until we have a little bit more sense of stability, the whole idea is to never try to catch a falling knife because you end up getting cut."