U.S. stocks erased initial losses and briefly turned positive on Thursday as strength in materials and insurance shares offset weaker-than-expected retail sales.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 28.04 points, or 0.26 percent, to 10,840.08. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> shed 3.43 points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,162.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 11.94 points, or 0.50 percent, to 2,390.35.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)