By and  on May 8, 2013

Wall Street continued to set new highs today.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group gained 0.5 percent, or 3.94 points, to 769.75, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, advanced 0.3 percent, or 48.92 points, to 15,105.12. Both indexes logged their best closes ever.

The retail gainers included Stein Mart Inc., which rose 7.6 percent to $10.90 after the company saidcomparable-store sales rose 8 percent in April; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., up 7.4 percent to $17.61 despite a sharper than expected first-quarter sales decline of 16.4 percent, and The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 2.8 percent to $16.29.

Markets have been rallying on the back of an employment scene that is strengthening, but not so much so that the government is likely to raise interest rates in the immediate future. European stock markets also edged up, with the CAC 40 in Paris leading the way.

The French market advanced 0.9 percent to 3,956.28; followed by the DAX in Frankfurt, up 0.8 percent to 8,249.71; the FTSE MIB in Milan, up 0.8 percent to 8,249.71, and the FTSE 100 in London, ahead 0.1 percent to 15,077.95.

The euro traded at $1.31 against the dollar while the pound fetched $1.55 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.06.

Retail and luxury stocks were mostly on the upswing, with the day’s biggest gainers including Metro AG, up 3.1 percent to 25.51 euros; Inditex, 2.2 percent to 103.75 euros; Carrefour SA, 3 percent to 23.78 euros, and Yoox, 5.3 percent to 15.05 euros.

Among the few stocks that crept downward were Unilever, which fell 2.1 percent to 31.84 euros, and Gemfields, 2.1 percent to 0.24 pounds.

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