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Retail Rally Continues on Wall Street

Sector gains 0.4 percent even as Dow Jones Industrial Average steps back.

Retail stocks continued to rise on Wall Street today, pushing on to another record high.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group increased 0.4 percent, or 3.42 points, to 860.58 even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.3 percent, or 40.39 points, to 15,636.55. Retail stocks are up 31.8 percent this year, versus the Dow’s 19.3 percent rise.

 

The Ben S. Bernanke-led Federal Reserve propelled stocks to new highs Wednesday when the central bank surprised traders by saying it would wait to curtain its program to buy $85 billion in debt each month. Those mortgage and Treasury debt purchases help keep interest rates low.

The retailer winners today included Express Inc., up 3.7 percent to $23.58; Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., 2.3 percent to $77.49, and VF Corp., 2.1 percent to $204.49 — all of which hit new 52-week highs today.

In Europe, investors pushed stocks up on the Fed move, which will continue to pump money into the economy. The FTSE MIB in Milan was up 1.4 percent to 18,059.23, London’s FTSE 100 gained 1 percent to 6,625.39, Paris’ CAC 40 increased 0.9 percent to 4,206.04 and Frankfurt’s DAX advanced 0.7 percent to 8,694.18.

The pound traded at $1.60 against the dollar, while the euro was worth $1.34.

Retail and luxury stocks closed mostly up, with the day’s biggest gainers including Yoox.com, up 3.4 percent to 26.75 euros; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 2.4 percent to 149.25 euros, and Inditex, 2 percent to 113.35 euros. Asos.com jumped 13.2 percent to 54.69 pounds after it said its total group revenues were up 46 percent to 212.5 million pounds in the fourth quarter.

Mulberry lost 3.3 percent to 9.83 pounds.