Amazon Lifts Retail Shares

Wall Street flat despite strengthening in U.S. GDP.

Consumers stepped in and helped boost the economy in the third quarter, but it was Amazon.com that sent retail stocks higher on Wall Street.

Shares of the Internet powerhouse rose 6.9 percent to $238.24 after the company weighed in late Thursday with third-quarter results that showed sales increased 27 percent to $13.81 billion.

That rise helped the S&P Retailing Industry Group log an increase of 1 percent, or 6.25 points, to 640.11 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average barely budged, increasing just 3.53 points to 13,107.21.

The other retail gainers included Sears Holdings Corp., up 6 percent to $66.69; Tumi Holdings Inc., 5.9 percent to $23.71; Columbia Sportswear Co., 4.3 percent to $56.01, and Vera Bradley Inc., 2.9 percent to $29.80.

Although the market has been beset with on again, off again economic worries for months, the scene actually brightened some in the third quarter as consumers opened their wallets.

The Commerce Departement said the nation’s gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2 percent in the third quarter, better than the 1.8 percent economists projected. Personal consumption expenditures, which also rose 2 percent, helped lead the charge.

In Europe, the markets made modest gains, with the CAC 40 leading the upswing in Paris, rising 0.7 percent to 3,435.09. The DAX in Frankfurt and the FTSE MIB in Milan both advanced 0.4 percent, to 7,231.85 and to 15,584.86, respectively. The FTSE 100 in London climbed 0.03 percent to 5,806.71.

Retail and luxury stocks were mixed, with the day’s biggest decliners including Asos.com, which fell 5.4 percent to 22 pounds after five company directors cashed in their shares to the tune of nearly 50 million pounds, and Yoox, which declined 1.4 percent to 11.40 euros.

Among the stocks that gained the most ground were PPR, which was up 4.9 percent to 137.25 euros, on the back of strong revenue figures reported earlier this week; Mulberry Group, whose shares were up 3.3 percent to 10.54 pounds, after having taken a battering earlier in the week following a profit warning, and Luxottica Group, which advanced 2.6 percent to 29.25 euros.

The euro traded at $1.30 versus the dollar while the pound traded at $1.61.