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Stocks Pare Gains in Final Hour as Retail Overshadows Energy

A massive rally in crude oil on Friday wasn't enough wasn't enough for Wall Street to close on a high note.

Benchmark indexes pared earlier gains by the final hour of the session as heavy losses in the retail and consumer sector overshadowed highs in energy. The S&P 500 was up 0.28%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.05%.

Consumer stocks were the weakest performers on Friday, led by a selloff in Gap (GPS) shares. The clothing retailer plummeted 14% 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; its Banana Republic stores were the worst performers, tumbling 14% compared with a 3% decrease in March last year.

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Crude oil enjoyed another major rally on Friday after the number of active oil drilling rigs in the U.S. fell by 8 to 354, according to Baker Hughes data. The number has tumbled 78% since hitting a peak in October 2014.

Oil was already higher as commodity traders pinned hopes on next week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which may lead to a production freeze. West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed 6.6% higher at $39.72 a...


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