Retail Stocks Hit Another New High

Last week’s job gains continue to help retail stocks.

Retail stocks rose to new highs again today as the good vibes from Friday’s strong report on the job market lingered on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group gained 0.4 percent, or 2.90 points, to 762.65, as the S&P 500 advanced 0.2 percent, or 3.08 points, to 1,617.50. Both indices set new highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which set a new high Friday, was roughly flat at 14,968.89. The fashion industry gainers included Stein Mart Inc., which shot up 13.2 percent to $9.72 after the company’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 130 percent to $13.5 million; American Apparel Inc., 4.1 percent to $2.05, and The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 1.3 percent to $15.21.

Last week ended with a bang, when the Labor Department said the U.S. added 165,000 jobs in April as the unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent — its lowest level since December 2008. That sign that the economic recovery was strengthening heartened investors.

European markets were off today. Milan’s FTSE MIB fell 0.4 percent to 16,862.99 as Frankfort’s DAX declined 0.1 percent to 8,112.08, and Paris’ CAC 40 decreased 0.2 percent to 3,907.04. The London Stock Exchange was closed for a bank holiday.

The decliners included LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, down 0.9 percent to 134.05 euros; Hermès International, 0.7 percent, to 262.10 euros, and Aeffe S.p.A., 0.4 percent to 0.60 euros. The euro traded at $1.31 against the dollar.