Stocks spent most of the day in negative territory, but moved up in afternoon trading as fears about the fate of Lehman Brothers turned to speculation about possible buyers for the troubled investment bank. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session at 11,433.88, up 164.96, or 1.5 percent, and the Standard & Poor’s Retail Index

managed a gain of 2.48 points, or 0.6 percent, to 410.17. The S&P 500 rose 1.4 percent to 1,249.05 and the Nasdaq Composite was 1.3 percent higher at 2,258.22. After reporting stellar second-quarter earnings, Lululemon Athletica led all fashion issues with a 14.4 percent spike. Regional department store Bon-Ton also scored a double-digit gain and Gottschalks shares rose 3.5 percent. Dillard’s stock headed in the other direction, retreating 5.6 percent. NexCen Brands shares jumped 8 percent after the firm said it is actively negotiating with multiple bidders to sell its Bill Blass and Waverly brands. With its 4.8 percent jump on Thursday, to $8.25 a share, Eddie Bauer Holdings’ stock has more than doubled since July 2. Overseas stocks were broadly lower, with IT Holding bucking the trend and locking in a 5.45 percent gain for the day.  

* Editor’s note: European stocks are quoted in the currency of their principal exchanges. Shares on the London Stock Exchange are quoted in pence, Richemont and The Swatch Group are quoted in Swiss francs and Hennes & Mauritz is quoted in Swedish kronor. All other European stocks are in euros.

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