By and  on March 14, 2012

U.S. retail stocks inched up Wednesday — holding on to the prior day’s gains, which were driven by better February retail sales — but J.C. Penney Co. Inc. lost ground after an analyst raised a warning flag on the company’s turnaround efforts.

Shares of Penney’s slipped 2.6 percent to $36.64 as the S&P Retail Index rose 0.2 percent, or 1.14 points, to 603.86 — the index’s highest close ever. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.1 percent, or 16.42 points, to 13,194.10 after rallying almost 218 points Tuesday.

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