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Retail Stocks Stage Late Rally

Profit warnings weigh on Tiffany, Aéropostale and Ascena.

Retail stocks were in a funk for most of today’s trading session on Wall Street, but rallied at the close to end up with a 0.4 percent gain.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group perked up 2.41 points to 666.52, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose a stronger 0.6 percent, or 80.71 points, to 13,471.22. 

Retail stocks were hit by profit warnings from Tiffany & Co., Aéropostale Inc. and Ascena Retail Group Inc. The warnings flesh out the general picture of a highly promotional fourth quarter, where price cuts to move goods hurt profit margins.

Shares of Ascena fell 7 percent to $16.86, as Tiffany declined 4.5 percent to $60.40 and Aéropostale Inc., dropped 1 percent to $13.24.

Urban Outfitters was the silver lining with a November and December comparable sales up 9 percent. The stock gained 4.6 percent to$42.64.

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Markets were mixed in Europe. The FTSE MIB in Milan advanced 0.7 percent to 17,451.07, followed by the FTSE 100 in London, which edged up 0.05 percent to 6,101.51.

But the CAC 40 in Paris sank 0.4 percent to 3,703.12, while the DAX in Frankfurt was down 0.2 percent 7,708.47.

The euro traded at $1.31 versus the dollar while the pound traded at $1.60 and the Swiss franc traded at $1.10.

Retail and luxury stocks closed on a down note. The biggest decliners included Compagnie Financière Richemont, down 2.1 percent to 76 Swiss francs; Carrefour SA, 1.8 percent to 19.20 euros, and Hermès International, 1.8 percent to 227.55 euros.