U.S. retail stocks were outpacing the market in midafternoon trading on Wall Street, where it was generally business as usual even as the effects of winter storm Nemo began to be felt in New York.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was up 0.7 percent, or 4.77 points, to 703.90, as the market approached the final hour of trading. The sector was comfortably outperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was up 0.3 percent, or 44.27 points, to 13,988.32.
Both retail stocks and the market overall are near their all-time highs, in part because the economy is projected to steadily improve even though it was unexpectedly weak in the fourth quarter when a cut in military spending weighed on GDP.
The gainers in the fashion industry included Guess Inc., up 3.8 percent to $28; Quiksilver Inc., 2.4 percent to $6.78; Columbia Sportswear Co., 2 percent to $50.53, and Iconix Brand Group, Inc. 1.4 percent to $24.03.
In Europe, stocks rallied, led by the Italian and French markets.
The FTSE MIB in Milan and the CAC 40 in Paris were both up 1.4 percent, to 16,630.50 and to 3,649.50, respectively. The DAX in Frankfurt advanced 0.8 percent to 7,652.14 and the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6 percent to 6,263.93.
The euro traded at $1.35 against the dollar, while the pound traded at $1.57 and the Swiss franc traded at $1.10.
Retail and luxury stocks were mostly on the upswing, with the day’s biggest gainers including Safilo Group, up 9.4 percent to 8.60 euros; Hugo Boss, ahead 2.2 percent to 88.51 euros after reporting record sales and earnings in 2012; Brunello Cucinelli, up 3 percent to 15.20 euros, and Burberry Group, ahead 2.1 percent to 13.65 pounds.