Falling Oil Lifts Stocks

Crude futures slid below $56 after a bearish inventory report. But retailers' December sales results disappointed the Street

Major stock indexes finished higher Thursday, bouncing back from early lows as 2007 continued to get off to a roller coaster start. Crude oil prices tumbled for a second straight day, offsetting lackluster retail sales and a round of economic data that was slightly weaker than expected.

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