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Retail Stocks Perk Up 0.5%

Report of weak spending in October weighs on Wall Street.

Retail stocks managed to gain ground today even as the market stayed flat as investors worried over a weak reading on consumer expenditures in October.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group gained 0.5 percent, or 3.54 points, to 675.98 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up just 0.03 percent, or 3.76 points, to 13,025.58.

The breakaway gainer in the fashion world was Christopher & Banks Corp., which jumped 24.5 percent to $4.57 as the company posted its first quarterly profit in two-and-a half years. The firm’s third-quarter same-store sales rose 13.7 percent.

Other gainers included Aéropostale Inc., up 2.9 percent to $13.81; Zale Corp., 1.9 percent to $4.88; Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 1.7 percent to $72.02, and Tumi Holdings Inc., 1.2 percent to $22.47.

Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. stood out on the downside, falling 19.6 percent to $1.52 after the company projected a loss for the fourth quarter.

Markets were generally pressured by signs that consumers pulled back in October. The Commerce Department said personal consumption expenditures fell 0.2 percent for the month, while economists expected a 0.1 percent gain. Consumption expanded by 0.8 percent in September.

Stocks were also generally weak in Europe.

The FTSE MIB in Milan dropped 0.5 percent to 15,808.24, followed by the FSTE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris, both down 0.1 percent, to 5,866.82 and 3,557.28, respectively.

The DAX in Frankfurt eked out a gain of 0.1 percent to 7,405.50.

The day’s gainers included Yoox, up 2.2 percent to 11.89 euros; Hermès, 1 percent to 237.60 euros; Brunello Cucinelli, 0.5 percent to 13.70 euros, and Asos.com, up 0.3 percent to 24.66 pounds.

Among the stocks losing ground were Luxottica, which dropped 0.1 percent to 31.55 euros after news that it has bought French luxury eyewear maker Alain Mikli for around 90 million euros, or $117 million; L’Oréal, down 1.1 percent to 104.35 euros; Safilo, 1.4 percent to 6.39 euros, and Burberry, which declined 2.3 percent to 12.87 pounds.

The euro traded at $1.30 versus the dollar, the pound at $1.60 and the Swiss franc was worth $1.08.