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Stocks Come Off Highs as Gap Weighs on Retail Sector

Stocks moved off of highs by midday Friday as weakness in the retail sector overshadowed a massive surge in energy.

The S&P 500 was up 0.41%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.35%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.08%.

Crude oil was the main driver of action on Friday as commodity traders pinned hopes on next week's meeting among Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members which will hopefully result in a production freeze. Investors were also looking toward a weekly read on active U.S. oil rigs out later in the day which should show a decline, a relief to a current supply glut. West Texas Intermediate was up 5.7% to $39.37 a barrel.

The energy sector was the best performer Friday. Major oilers including Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) , Chevron (CVX - Get Report) , PetroChina (PTR - Get Report) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A - Get Report) were higher, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) added 2%.

Consumer stocks were the weakest performers on Friday, led by a selloff in Gap (GPS) shares. Gap plummeted 12.4% after reporting a 6% slump in same-store sales in March. The retailer had reported a 2% increase over the same period a year earlier. Banana Republic was the worst performer, tumbling 14% compared to a 3% decrease in March last year.

Other retailers in the red on Friday included Nike (NKE) , Target (TGT) , VF Corp (VFC) , Dollar General (DG) , L Brands (LB) and Ross Stores (ROST) . The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) fell 0.5%.

Target is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells TGT? Learn more now.

Stocks have had a rocky week, rallying on Wednesday on signs of a dovish Federal Reserve and selling off on Thursday alongside crude oil. Investors have shown weariness...


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