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U.S. Retail Stocks Dip 0.1%

Major indices in U.S. and Europe log small gains.

U.S. retail stocks spent much of the day in positive territory but pulled back for a small decline by the end of the trading day.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group ended the trading session down 0.1 percent at 894.24 after spending time above the 900 mark, where it hadn’t been since early April.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both advanced 0.1 percent to 16,943.10 and 1,951.27, respectively, with both hitting intra-day record highs before closing off peak levels.

The Wet Seal Inc., which one year ago was selling for over $5, advanced 9.1 percent to 89 cents, leading the sample of U.S. equities tracked by WWD. Shares of Quiksilver Inc. and Oxford Industries Inc. rose 6 and 5.8 percent, respectively, to close at $3.90 and $68.75. Quiksilver shares picked up 9.9 percent on Friday as the firm came back from a sell-off earlier last week following a larger-than-expected second-quarter loss. Oxford is scheduled to report first-quarter results after the markets close Tuesday. Oxford shares were upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” by Sidoti & Co.

Among the issues losing ground, Birks Group Inc. was off 4.1 percent to $1.18 and Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. shed 2.6 percent to close at $74.77 while Inter Parfums Inc. was down 2 percent to $28.52.

Carl Icahn’s disclosure of a 9.4 percent stake in Family Dollar Stores Inc. helped lift its shares 13.4 percent to $68.62 even after the discounter put a poison-pill plan in place. Merger and acquisition activity also contributed to investor interest with Tyson Foods winning the bidding battle for Hillshire Brands and Merck agreeing to buy Idenix Pharmaceuticals. The deals were worth about $8 billion and $4 billion, respectively.

Europe’s markets finished the day much as they began them, with modest gains.

The FTSE MIB in Milan led the way, rising 0.8 percent to 22,472.12, followed by the three other main indices, all of which climbed 0.2 percent.

The FTSE 100 in London hit 6,875.00, while the CAC 40 in Paris reached 4,589.12, and the DAX in Frankfurt closed at 10,008.63.

Retail and luxury stocks were uneven, with the day’s larger declines coming from Mulberry Group, down 2.9 percent to 7.09 pounds; Moncler, 1.5 percent to 12.85 euros; Asos.com, 3.9 percent to 32.18 pounds, and Italia Independent Group, 1.6 percent to 34.20 euros.

Among those gaining ground were Gemfields, up 2.6 percent to 45 pence; French Connection Group, 2.9 percent to 70 pence, and Inditex, 1.2 percent to 108.75 euros.

The euro traded at $1.36 versus the U.S. dollar, while the pound fetched $1.68, and the Swiss franc equaled $1.12.