Retail Gains Ground on Wall Street

Fitch Ratings reviewing Britain’s “AAA” credit rating.

Retail outpaced Wall Street today.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group gained 1.1 percent, or 7.92 points, to 721.10, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.6 percent, or 90.54 points, to 14,512.03.

Nudging the retail index ahead were Limited Brands Inc., up 2.4 percent to $44.06; The TJX Cos. Inc., 2.2 percent to $46.62, and Tiffany & Co., 1.9 percent to $69.23. Tiffany topped fourth-quarter earnings projections and projected earnings growth this year after a first-quarter dip.

Also gaining strongly was Nike Inc., which jumped ahead 11.1 percent to $59.53 after the company’s third-quarter earnings came in stronger than expected Thursday afternoon.

Investors continue to keep a close eye on Europe, where Cyprus’ debt troubles have once again stirred worries about the strength of the euro zone.

The United Kingdom, which is not part of the currency bloc, is also feeling some pain as it cuts back on debt.

Fitch Ratings put Britain’s “AAA” credit rating on rating watch negative, indicating a “heightened probability of a downgrade in the near term.”

The move reflects the nation’s last official economic forecast, which projected general government gross debt would peak at 100.8 percent of gross domestic product—higher than Fitch anticipated.

The move was largely expected and investors will have the weekend to ponder the change, which came out after markets in Europe closed.

Shares in Milan’s FTSE MIB advanced 0.7 percent to 16,045.51, followed by London’s FTSE 100, which rose 0.1 percent to 6,392.76. Frankfurt’s The DAX sank 0.3 percent to 7,911.35 and Paris’ CAC 40 slipped 0.1 percent to 3,770.29.

The euro traded at $1.29 against the dollar while the pound traded at $1.51 and the Swiss franc traded at $1.06.

Retail and luxury stocks were mostly up, with the day’s biggest gainers including Unilever, up 2.2 percent to 31.86 euros; Marks & Spencer Group, 2 percent to 3.98 pounds, and Luxottica Group, 1.7 percent to 39.68 euros.


Among the day’s biggest decliners were Mulberry Group, down 16.9 percent to 10.26 pounds, following a sales and profit warning earlier in the day; Burberry Group, 4.1 percent to 13.30 pounds, and Asos.com, 0.9 percent to 33 pounds.