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Retail Stocks Gain 1.3% on Wall Street

China growth slows, but not as much as feared, comforting stock investors.

Retail stocks gained 1.3 percent on Wall Street today, outpacing the market, which was helped along by stronger than expected, albeit slower, economic growth out of China.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 1.3 percent to 866.49 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 1 percent to 16,424.85.,ers included G-III Apparel Group, up 3.7 percent to $74.65; Under Armour Inc., 2.5 percent to $53.75 and Columbia Sportswear Company, 2.3 percent to $81.70. Amazon.com Inc. rose 2.4 percent to $323.68.

The day started on an up note after China said gross domestic product rose 7.4 percent in the first quarter, beating analyst expectations for a 7.3 percent increase.

While IHS China Economist Brian Jackson noted this was the sixth-straight quarter of weaker growth, he said “the slowdown is not an economic catastrophe nor painful across the board.”

“Slightly weakening growth in China is not a resoundingly bad outcome,” he said. “Softer investment growth is not only a reflection of growing debt burdens weighing on company decisions, but also on leaders’ willingness restraint reckless and inefficient spending.”

Retail sales in the country have proven resilient and rose 12 percent in the first quarter, according to the official tally.

The Chinese markets were relatively sedate, with the SSE Composite Index rising 0.2 percent to 2,105.12 in Shanghai and the Hang Seng Index increasing 0.1 percent to 22,696.01 in Hong Kong.

But Europe saw a boost.

The FTSE MIB in Milan climbed 3.4 percent to 21,534.52, followed by the DAX in Frankfurt, 1.6 percent to 9,317.82, and the CAC 40 in Paris, 1.4 percent to 4,405.66. The FTSE 100 in London advanced 0.7 percent to 6,584.17.

The euro traded at $1.38 against the U.S. dollar, while the pound fetched $1.67 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.14.

Retail and luxury stocks were also on the uptick, with the day’s biggest gainers including Ferragamo, 2.9 percent to 23.10 euros; Marks & Spencer Group, 2.7 percent to 4.28 pounds; Boohoo.com, 2.8 percent to 0.46 pounds and Next Plc, 2 percent to 63.60 pounds.

Among the few stocks that dipped were Italia Independent Group, 1.1 percent to 38.05 euros, and French Connection, 2.2 percent to 0.75 pounds.