Wall Street and retail stocks rallied today after stronger-than-expected readings on consumer confidence and the U.S. job market as well as mainly solid results from companies reporting October comparable-store sales.
The S&P 500 Retailing Group rose 0.9 percent, or 5.96 points, to 649.86, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 1 percent, or 136.16 points, to 13,232.62.
The gainers included Aéropostale Inc., up 10.5 percent to $13.21; The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 10 percent to $13.49; Abercrombie & Fitch Co., 8.7 percent to $33.23; Hot Topic Inc., 8.5 percent to $9.20; Macy’s Inc., 6.4 percent to $40.52, and Tiffany & Co., 4.8 percent to $66.27. The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 72.2 last month from 68.4 in September and now sits at its highest level in five years.
The index was helped along by an improving job market. And the Labor Department backed that up to some degree, noting initial jobless claims fell by 9,000 last week to 363,000.
Also, Thomson Reuters said October comps rose 4.7 percent, better than the 4.3 percent gain the firm projected.
European stock markets likewise surged upward, based on both the strong U.S. economic reports and a rise in China’s October purchasing managers’ index, which measures the manufacturing sector.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics said that the PMI nosed up to 50.2. It is the first reading above the 50 level, which indicates expansion, since the summer, an important shift for the world’s second-largest economy.
The FTSE MIB in Milan was up 1.7 percent to 15,806.73 while the FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris each climbed 1.4 percent, to 5,861.92 and to 3,475.40, respectively. The DAX in Frankfurt was up 1 percent to 7,335.67.
Among the day’s biggest gainers were Burberry Group, which climbed 4.2 percent to 12.15 pounds; Ferragamo, 4.5 percent to 16.37 euros; Swatch Group, 4 percent to 70.35 Swiss francs; Asos.com, 2.8 percent to 23.19 pounds, and Brunello Cucinelli, 2.1 percent to 13.94 euros.
Compagnie Financiere Richemont rocketed up 4.9 percent to 63.35 Swiss francs after Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded its rating on the stock to “buy” from “underperform,” citing its high exposure to Asia as an advantage.
The euro traded at $1.30 versus the dollar, while the pound traded at $1.61, and the Swiss franc traded at $1.07.