* WTI crude falls below $59 a barrel
* Producer prices fall; UMich tops expectations
* Adobe up after results; to buy Fotolia
* Indexes off: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.39 pct, Nasdaq 0.19 pct (Updates to opening)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks dipped on Friday, putting the benchmark S&P 500 on track to snap seven weeks of gains, after oil prices slumped further.
The S&P index had broken a three-day skid on Thursday, buoyed by upbeat retail sales figures and other data that pointed to a strengthening U.S. economy, but finished well off its session highs as oil prices slipped.
Weak oil prices have added to worries about global demand and raised concerns about earnings for energy companies, with year-end tax selling putting more pressure on the group.
The S&P energy sector was down 1.6 percent for the session and has shed more than 16 percent this year and is the worst performing of the 10 major S&P sectors.
“It’s all about the pendulum swing, it works both ways, you can see that $107 in the summertime was ridiculous and now you will see it in the opposite direction, probably towards the $50 range maybe by the end of the year and it’s all sentiment based,” said Terry DuFrene, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New Orleans.
Losses were curbed as data showed producer prices fell 0.2 percent in November and were muted even outside of energy. The data may influence the U.S. Federal Reserve’s thinking on whether to adjust its pledge to keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time.”
“This is going to be about the Fed’s next move when they meet next week and gives them a little bit more room to wiggle as far as not being in the camp of rising rates,” said DuFrene.
In addition, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment rose in December to a near eight-year high on improved prospects for jobs and wages and on lower gasoline prices.
Brent crude slipped to a low of $62.37, its lowest since July 2009, and was last down 0.6 percent at $63.30. WTI crude dropped below $59 a barrel and was last down 2.2 percent at $58.63 as worries persisted over a global supply glut and sluggish demand.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 75.59 points, or 0.43 percent, to 17,520.75, the S&P 500 lost 7.98 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,027.35 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 8.80 points, or 0.19 percent, to 4,699.37.
Adobe Systems rose 7.7 percent to $75.09 after saying it would buy stock photography company Fotolia for $800 million. It also reported quarterly revenue above market estimates.
ChemoCentryx Inc surged 71.2 percent to $7.69 after the company said its experimental drug met the main goal of reducing excessive protein in the urine of diabetics with progressive kidney disease.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,097 to 724, for a 2.90-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,694 issues fell and 778 advanced for a 2.18-to-1 ratio.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 13 new 52-week highs and 31 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 24 new highs and 105 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)