NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks recovered from session lows but were still battered on Friday as crude oil continued to plummet, falling below $58 a barrel.
The major indexes remained firmly in the red, as the the market heard for its fourth daily loss of the week. The S&P 500 was down 1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 1.3%, and the Nasdaq slipped 0.66%.
The S&P 500 and Dow are around 3% lower than all-time highs set a week ago while the Nasdaq is down nearly 2% from its late November record.
Crude was under pressure again after the International Energy Agency on Friday cut its forecast for oil demand in 2015 by 230,000 barrels a day to 900,000 barrels. It's the fifth time in six months the IEA has slashed its forecast.
"Short-term, it's all trading-driven and so it could continue to drift downward. It's mostly geopolitical pressure," LK Balanced Fund's Tom Sudyka said in a call.
West Texas Intermediate crude on Friday was down 3.6% to $57.77 a barrel. On Thursday, the commodity slipped below $60 a barrel for the first time since July 2009. Prices are now down 44% from a mid-summer peak. Oil stocks continued to crater with Exxon Mobil (XOM) down 2.4%, Chevron (CVX) falling 1.8% and BP (BP) 2.4% lower. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) dropped 1.5%.
"You're getting a lot of portfolio positioning going on right now," added Sudyka. "You certainly don't want to show big losers and so fund managers are probably lightening their energy positions going into year-end."
Department store chains such as Macy's (M) , Sears (SHLD) and Kohl's (KSS) spiked after positive data earlier Friday showed consumer sentiment in November at an eight-year high. Lower gasoline prices benefited consumer sentiment with the Reuters/University of Michigan's reading surging to 93.8 compared to an estimated 89.5.
Adobe (ADBE) shares gained 10.4% following a fourth-quarter earnings beat and the announcement it is buying stock image company Fotolia for $800 million. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015. Rival online photo services company Shutterstock (SSTK) plummeted nearly 14%.
Windstream Holdings (WIN) was down more than 8% after the company announced long-time CEO Jeff Gardner had stepped down.
United Technologies (UTX) was 1% lower after guiding for earnings next year below analysts' estimates due to lower expected sales at its Pratt & Whitney military unit.
GoPro (GPRO) was up 2.1% after JPMorgan upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "neutral" and maintained its $70 price target. Rackspace (RAX) fell after D.A. Davidson downgraded the stock to "underperform" on a valuation call.
-- Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.