The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 1.8 percent, or 11.54 points, to 662.99, outshining the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which gained 0.8 percent, or 100.38 points, to 13,235.39.
Among those helping to push the retail index higher were Ross Stores Inc., up 2.7 percent to $54.66; Urban Outfitters Inc., 2.5 percent to $39.58, and The TJX Cos. Inc., 2.4 percent to $43.62.
Also gaining ground in fashion were Quiksilver Inc., up 10.5 percent to $3.91; G-III Apparel Group, 7.5 percent to $34.96; The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 7.4 percent to $11.50; New York & Co. Inc., 4.4 percent to $3.60, and Sears Holdings Corp., 4.3 percent to $44.07.
Investor were feeling somewhat bullish about closed-door talks in Washington about the fiscal cliff standoff. Lawmakers are trying to steer the economy away from a set of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to kick in next year.
European markets closed with mixed results as optimism surrounding the election of a new conservative Japanese government was overshadowed by investors’ concern about the looming U.S. fiscal deadline. The FTSE 100 in London closed down 0.2 percent to 5,912.15 points, while the CAC 40 in Paris dipped 0.1 percent to 3,638.10.
The FTSE MIB in Milan was up 0.6 percent to 16,004.73, and the DAX in Frankfurt grew 0.1 percent to 7,604.94.
Among those losing ground were LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Marks & Spencer, which both dropped 0.6 percent, to 137.10 euros and 39.17 pounds, respectively. Burberry and Ferragamo both dipped 0.5 percent, to 12.58 pounds and 16.73 euros, respectively.
Stocks gaining ground included Inditex, up 2.1 percent to 105.65 euros; Yoox, 1.9 percent to 11.51 euros, and Hermès, 0.3 percent to 230.70.
The pound traded at $1.62 against the dollar and the euro was valued at $1.32.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.9 points to 9,828.88. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell 0.4 percent to 22,513.61.
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