Retail Shares Tread Water

Eke out small gain to extend winning streak to five sessions.

Retail shares picked up less than a point today, but it was sufficient to propel them to their fifth winning session in a row.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group tacked on 0.15 points, less than 0.1 percent, to close at 886.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 did somewhat better, increasing 0.1 and 0.2 percent, respectively, to close at 15,801.79 and 1,799.84. At its high point for the day of 1,799.94, the S&P came within a fraction of hitting the 1,800 mark that it hasn’t seen since Jan. 24.

Among the U.S.-based fashion, retail and beauty stocks tracked by WWD, Bebe Stores Inc. led gainers with a 5.9 percent increase to $5.74, continuing to rally after reporting a smaller-than-expected second-quarter loss and projecting improved gross margins and same-store sales for the third quarter on Thursday. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. put additional distance between its share price and the $5 mark with a 3.6 percent improvement to $5.71. Burlington Stores Inc. was up 2.7 percent to $25.13.

Among those with larger declines were two specialty stores that last week reported declines in same-store sales for January. The Buckle Inc. was off 3 percent to $42.70 while Cato Corp. pulled back 2.9 percent to $26.99.

European stock markets put on a mixed show to start the week.

The FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris were both on the upswing, with the former rising 0.3 percent to 6,591.55 and the latter up 0.2 percent to 4,237.14.

The DAX in Frankfurt and the FTSE MIB in Milan were both down, with the German market falling 0.1 percent to 9,289.86 and the Italian also dipping 0.1 percent to 19,682.82.

Retail and luxury stocks generated mixed results, with the day’s biggest gainers including L’Oréal, 4.5 percent to 129 euros following a report from Bloomberg that Nestlé was looking to reduce its stake in the cosmetics and skincare giant. Also picking up ground were Ferragamo, 2.5 percent to 23.58 euros; Burberry Group, 1.4 percent to 14.94 pounds; and Italia Independent Group, 2.1 percent to 36.74 euros.

Among the stocks that lost the most ground were Mulberry Group, 1.4 percent to 6.59 pounds; Geox, 1.3 percent to 2.89 euros, and Inditex, 1.4 percent to 110 euros.

The euro traded at $1.36 versus the U.S. dollar while the pound fetched $1.64.