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

NEW YORK, N.Y. – A rally on the stock market fizzled toward the end of trading as the price of oil sank.

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 per cent.

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

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

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