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S&P 500 Hits New High, Retail Flat on Wall Street

Wall Street headed into holiday weekend on strong note; political worries linger in Italy.

Wall Street went into the long Easter weekend in a good mood.

The broad-based S&P 500 Index posted its best close on record today, rising 0.4 percent, or 6.34 points, to 1,569.19, inching past its prior high from October 2007. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has pushed into new territory in recent weeks, also closed at a fresh high, up 0.4 percent, or 52.38 points, to 14,578.54.

Retailers posted tiny gains. The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group increased 0.27 points to 726.51.

Several accessories companies were among the day’s gainers including Signet Jewelers, which rose 5.9 percent to $67 after beating fourth-quarter profit projections; Caché Inc., ahead 9.6 percent to $4.22; Movado Group Inc., 2.8 percent to $33.52, and Tiffany & Co., 1.6 percent to $69.54.

Headed the other direction was PVH Corp., which fell 5.3 percent to $106.81 after the company said its acquisition of Warnaco Group would detract from earnings this year. Previously, the PVH said the deal to add to its 2013 profits.

The New York Stock Exchange is closed Friday and will reopen Monday.

In Europe, stock markets mostly made modest gains ahead of what will be a four-day weekend for investors in the region.

Milan’s FTSE MIB, however, fell 1.3 percent to 12,335.96 against a backdrop of uncertainty. Last month’s parliamentary elections in Italy were inconclusive and investors are worried about the country’s inability to form a government. There is already speculation that a caretaker government led by a technocrat will have to be installed until new elections can be held.

Among the markets gaining ground were the CAC 40 in Paris, up 0.5 percent to 3,731.42; the FTSE 100 in London, 0.4 percent to 6,411.74; and the DAX in Frankfurt, 0.1 percent to 7,795.31.

The euro traded at $1.28 against the dollar, while the pound fetched $1.51 and the Swiss franc went for $1.05.

Retail and luxury stocks put on a mixed show. The day’s biggest gainers included Carrefour, up 2.4 percent to 21.35; Inditex, 2.3 percent to 103.40 euros, and L’Oréal, 2.5 percent to 123.70 euros.

Among the stocks that lost the most ground were Safilo Group, down 2 percent to 10.58 euros, and Brunello Cucinelli, 2.2 percent to 16.42 euros.