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​Stocks mostly higher as oil lifts energy companies

NEW YORK -U.S. stocks are mostly higher in Friday trading as the price of oil jumps for the second time in three days. Energy companies are getting a boost. Retailers are struggling after some weak sales reports, and drug companies are losing ground.

The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 43 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,585 as of 1:34 p.m. ET. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 6 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,048. The Nasdaq composite index lost six points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,843.

Stocks are coming off their biggest loss in six weeks and started the day with big gains. Early in the day the Dow rose as much as 152 points.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $2.25, or 6 percent, to $39.51 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained $2.26, or 5.7 percent, to $41.69 a barrel in London. The price of wholesale gasoline climbed 4 percent and heating oil rose 6 percent.

Chevron rose $1.50, or 1.6 percent, to $96.29. ConocoPhillips picked up $1.12, or 2.8 percent, to $41.43 and Murphy Oil advanced $1.25, or 5.1 percent, to $25.69.

Gap plunged $3.73, or 13.5 percent, to $23.96 after it said all three of its big chains saw their sales drop in March. The company behind Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic also said its levels of product inventory are high, which could lead to bigger discounts that will hurt its profits.

L Brands said it will restructure its Victoria's Secret brand, and its stock lost $3.81, or 4.5 percent, to $80.34.

The weak results hurt companies that sell everything from clothing for teens to handbags and department store chains. Macy's gave up 88 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $39.74. Coach fell $1.15, or 2.9 percent, to $39.16. Under Armour lost $1.66, or 3.7 percent, to $42.75.

Pain drug maker Depomed is rising after activist investment firm Starboard Value disclosed a 9.8 percent stake in the company, making it one of Depomed's largest shareholders. Last year Horizon Pharma tried to buy Depomed for about $1.1 billion, or $33 per share, but Depomed fended off that effort and Horizon dropped it in November. Depomed's stock jumped $1.70, or 11.3 percent, to $16.70.

Biotech drug companies are falling. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals lost $12.81, or 3.1 percent, to $405.67 and Vertex Pharmaceuticals shed $1.82, or 2.1 percent, to $84.48. Biogen declined $5, or 1.8 percent, to $268.04.

Biotech stocks logged their biggest gain in almost five years on Wednesday, but they have suffered big losses since July.

Specialty glass maker Corning said it will buy optical components maker Alliance Fiber Optic Products for $18.50 per share, or $305 million. Alliance stock surged $2.99, or 19.3 percent, to $18.45. Corning dipped 11 cents to $20.55.

Ruby Tuesday tumbled 70 cents, or 13.4 percent, to $4.52. The restaurant chain's earnings were disappointing and it cut its forecasts. The company also said its chief financial officer will leave the company.

Clothing and tools supplier Duluth Holdings rose $4.03, or 22.6 percent, to $21.85 after reporting its fiscal fourth-quarter results.

Maintenance and cleaning products company WD-40 sank after it reported disappointing quarterly sales. The stock gave up $5.91, or 5.5 percent, to $101.13.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.73 percent from 1.69 percent. The dollar rose to 108.44 yen from 108.24 yen. The euro inched up to $1.1405 from $1.1377.

Stocks in Europe also rallied. France's CAC 40 rose 1.4 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain climbed 1.1 percent. Germany's DAX added 1 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index finished 0.5 percent higher. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent.