American Eagle Outfitters chairman Jay Schottenstein showed his faith in the specialty retailer by snatching up 1 million of its shares.

And investors followed Schottenstein's lead, pushing the stock up as much as 12.3 percent to $12.54, though the issue settled to $12.15 — up 8.8 percent — in midday trading.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Schottenstein bought 565,200 shares for $11.28 each on Wednesday and then 434,800 shares for $11.06 a piece on Thursday, for a total investment of $11.2 million.

Schottenstein beneficially owns 12.2 million shares of the company directly or through various trusts, according to the filing.

At 12:45, the S&P Retail Index was ahead 0.7 percent, or 3.75 points, to 509.83, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 percent, or 101.72 points, to 10.873.20.

Markets sank in Asia with the Nikkei 225 down 2.2 percent in Tokyo and the Hang Seng Index off 1.5 percent in Hong Kong, though sentiment was better in Europe, where the DAX gained 1.8 percent in Frankfurt and the CAC 40 rose 1.8 percent in Paris.

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