Stocks Inch Lower on Retail Sales

Merchants like Gap, Pier One and Abercrombie & Fitch posted disappointing February sales. Crude futures climbed above $63

Stocks finished modestly lower Thursday, well off session woes, amid soft retail sales, weak foreign markets and a rally in crude futures. Energy groups gained, while cyclical, retail and rate-sensitive stocks like financial and utility companies were weak, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

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