US stock indexes end with modest gains after an early rally is dented by slump in price of oil

Markets Associated Press

A rally on the stock market fizzled toward the end of trading as the price of oil sank.

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Indexes spent most of the day higher on Thursday, but faded in the last two hours as oil turned lower again.

Lower energy prices are a boon to consumers, but they also hurt companies that drill for oil.

Retail stocks rose after the U.S. government reported a pickup in sales last month. Home Depot rose 1.3 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 63 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,596. It was up 225 earlier.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose nine points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,035. The Nasdaq rose 24 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,708.

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Oil fell 99 cents to $59.95 a barrel in New York.