Retail Stocks Gain 0.4% on Wall Street

December sales help boost shares.

Investors zeroed in on stronger same-store sales in December — looking past signs that discounting has hurt fourth-quarter profits— and drove retail stocks up today.

The S&P Retailing Industry Group rose 0.4 percent, or 2.79 points, to 665.18, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 percent, or 21.19 points, to 13,391.36.

The fashion sector gainers included Ross Stores Inc., up 8 percent to $58.78; Oxford Industries Inc., 6.6 percent to $48.45; Quiksilver Inc., 3.4 percent to $4.53; TJX Cos. Inc., 3.3 percent to $44.58, and Nordstrom Inc., 3.1 percent to $55.27.

Ross and TJX posted comparable-store sales gains of 6 percent, while Nordstrom comped up 8.6 percent. And Quiksilver named Andy Mooney chief executive officer.

The stock decliner’s included Limited Brands Inc., down 5.7 percent to $44.71; Bebe Stores Inc., 5.5 percent to $3.78; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 3.5 percent to $20.11; Saks Inc., 2.2 percent to $10.54, and Macy’s Inc., 2.2 percent to $37.47.

According to Thomson Reuters, the median comparable-store sales gain was 4.5 percent for the chain’s reporting results. But it won’t be known until next month what impact the promotions that drove that sales increase will have on fourth-quarter earnings.

Markets were mixed in Europe.

London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent to 6,047.34 and Milan’s FTSE MIB inched up 0.1 percent to 16,909.83. But Frankfurt’s DAX fell 0.3 percent to 7,756.44 and Paris’ CAC 40 declined 0.3 percent to 3,721.17.

Among the fashion companies gaining ground were Safilo Group, up 2.6 percent to 6.99 euros; PPR, 1.6 percent to 145 euros; Marks and Spencer Group, 1 percent to 3.86 pounds; Salvatore Ferragamo, 0.6 percent to 17.30 euros, and Tod’s, 0.4 percent to 99.25 euros.

The pound traded at $1.63 against the dollar while the euro went for $1.32.