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Retail Stocks Inch Up Toward All-Time High

Sector gained 1.1 percent on Wall Street.

Retail stocks tiptoed back toward their all-time high on Wall Street today.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 1.1 percent, or 8.28 points, to 800.35 — just a few points shy of the all-time record of 804.05, set on May 21. The sector benefited from an up market that pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.9 percent, or 138.38 points, to 15,318.23.

Among the gainers were New York & Company Inc., up 5.3 percent to $6.16; Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc., 4 percent to $22.64; L Brands Inc., the former Limited Brands, 2.6 percent to $52.32, and Ann Inc., 2.3 percent to $32.29.

Investors are waiting to see what the Federal Reserve committee on monetary policy says Wednesday after its two-day meeting. Investors were worried that the central bank might start to pull back its support for the economy, but now the general sentiment is that interest rates will remain low given that unemployment ticked up last month to 7.6 percent.

In Europe, markets showed mostly modest gains.

London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7 percent to 6,374.21 as Frankfurt’s DAX increased 0.2 percent to 8,229.51 and Milan’s FTSE MIB inched up 0.02 percent to 16,197.94.

Paris’ CAC 40 slipped 0.1 percent to 3,860.55.

Perking up in the fashion sector were Mulberry Group, ahead 2.9 percent to 9.26 pounds; Brunello Cucinelli, 1.3 percent to 18.20 euros; Luxottica Group, 0.9 percent to 40 euros, and Salvatore Ferragamo Italia, 0.9 percent to 23.70 euros.

The pound traded at $1.57 against the dollar while the euro fetched $1.34.