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Wall Street Rises, Dow Back Above 15,000

Fed says higher interest rates still “long way off.”

Wall Street gained ground today, with retail rising and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing above 15,000 as Federal Reserve officials assured investors that interest rates would remain low for some time.

“A rise in short-term rates is very likely to be a long way off,” said William Dudley, president and chief executive officer of the New York Federal Reserve.

The Fed has said it would keep interest rates low until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent, from the current 7.6 percent, and Dudley noted the central bank could wait longer before actually raising rates.

Investors seemed to be reassured. Even though higher interest rates would mean the economy was stronger, they would send some investors away from stocks and back into bonds, limiting the number of buyers in the market.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 0.7 percent, or 5.21 points, to 786.22, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.8 percent, or 114.35 points, to 15,024.49—the first time the Dow’s closed above 15,000 in a week.

The gainers included Aéropostale Inc., up 6.2 percent to $13.60; Movado Group Inc., 6.1 percent to $33.73; Zale Corp., 5.5 percent to $9.15; J.C. Penney Co. Inc.,  5.2 percent to $16.99; Chico’s FAS Inc.,  3.4 percent to $16.73, and Lululemon Athletica Inc., 2.7 percent to $65.63.

European stock markets also closed on a positive note.

London’s FTSE 100 gained 1.3 percent to 6,243.40 as Paris’ CAC 40 increased 1 percent to 3,762.19, Frankurt’s DAX rose 0.6 percent to 7,990.75 and Milan’s FSTE MIB advanced 0.4 percent to 15,430.47.

The euro traded at $1.30 against the dollar, while the pound fetched $1.54 and the Swiss franc went for $1.06.

Retail and luxury stocks in the region were mostly on the uptick, with the day’s biggest gainers including Carrefour SA, up 2.8 percent to 21.27 euros; Geox, 3.9 percent to 1.96 euros; Mulberry Group, 2.9 percent to 9 pounds, and Safilo Group, 3.2 percent to 14.70 euros.