By and and  on May 2, 2011

Officials in New York and Washington were on the watch for reprisals Monday after U.S. special forces killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan Sunday. But aside from a stepped-up police presence, it appeared to be business as usual for the retail and financial worlds.

The S&P Retail Index shot up to 546.67 in afternoon trading, the highest reading ever from the nine-year-old gauge of retail stocks. The sector, which has traditionally led the market out of downturns, has been boosted by strong corporate earnings, lower unemployment and a sense that the recovery is strengthening. The outlook is clouded by rising food and gasoline prices for consumers and higher costs for cotton and labor for manufacturers and retailers.

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