Retail Stocks Up 0.5% on Wall Street

Investors keeping close watch on Syria.

Wall Street ended with modest gains today as investors kept their eyes on increasing geo-political tensions over the conflict within Syria.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 0.5 percent, or 3.66 points, to 811.36, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.3 percent, or 48.38 points, to 14,824.51.

Zale Corp. was the strongest fashion stock, rising 29.8 percent to $11.63 after the company narrowed fourth-quarter losses and returned to profitability for the year. Also gaining were Express Inc., up 6.6 percent to $21.10 after raising its profit outlook for the year, and Chico’s FAS Inc., which gained 4 percent to $15.95 even as second-quarter profits fell.

The decliners included Tiffany & Co., off 4.4 percent to $77.25; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 3.1 percent to $12.76; Coty Inc, 1.8 percent to$15.63, and The Procter & Gamble Co., 1.4 percent to $76.85.

In Europe, markets dropped to the lowest level in six weeks as concern grew that the U.S. would take military action against Syria.

The FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris both sank 0.2 percent to 6,430.06 and 3,960.46, respectively, while Frankfurt’s DAX lost 1 percent to 8,157.90. Milan’s FTSE MIB gained 1 percent to 16,743.09.

The pound traded at $1.51 against the dollar as the Swiss franc went for $1.07 and the euro was worth $1.31.

Retail and luxury stocks were also predominantly down, with those stocks losing the most ground including Asos, down 4.4 percent to 47.13 pounds; Compagnie Financière Richemont, 2.3 percent to 88.10 Swiss francs; and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 2 percent to 133.15 euros.

Among the shares making small gains were Marks & Spencer, up 0.7 percent to 4.75 pounds, and Yoox, which grew 0.5 percent to 22.50 euros.