Wall Street Approaches New High

Retail sector hits fresh peak, helps to pull the market up.

Wall Street staged a late day rally today—catching up with the retail sector’s strong showing and putting the Dow Jones Industrial Average within striking distance of its all-time high.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 1.5 percent, or 10.55 points, to 720.37—a new record close for the index, which has broken into new territory several times this year. The Dow Jones had a late-day rush and ended up 0.3 percent, or 38.16 points, to 14,127.82. That’s 37 points shy of the 2007 peak for Blue Chip stocks.

Among the gainers in the fashion industry were The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., up 4.5 percent to $11.21; American Eagle Outfitters 4.3 percent to $21.67, and True Religion Apparel Inc., 4.2 percent to $27.85.


True Religion Apparel Inc.’s five-month-long quest for a buyer might have become less complicated last week, supporting the stock. The company informed Jeffrey Lubell, its founder, chairman, chief executive officer and creative director, that, in light of its continuing review of strategic alternatives, “it would not be appropriate” to renew his employment agreement for another three-year term before it expires on June 30. According to a regulatory filing Friday, Lubell will continue to serve in those capacities and the company said it “would like the opportunity to explore an alternative arrangement with him.”

Also gaining ground on Wall Street today were Target Corp., 3.6 percent to $66.44; Amazon.com Inc., 2.8 percent to $273.11; Coach Inc., 2.2 percent to $49.28, and Dow-component Wal-Mart Stores Inc., up 2.1 percent to $73.26.

In Europe, Paris’ CAC 40 advanced 0.3 percent to 3,709.76, while Milan’s FTSE MIB was down 0.9 percent to 15,542.17. The FTSE 100 in London edged down 0.5 percent to 6,345.63 while the DAX in Frankfurt fell 0.2 percent to 7,691.68.

The euro traded at $1.30 against the dollar while the pound traded at $1.50 and the Swiss franc traded at $1.06.

Retail and luxury stocks also put on a mixed show, with the day’s biggest fallers including British retailer Debenhams plc, which plummeted 14.2 percent to 0.82 pounds, following a profit warning this morning.
Sales in the first half were hit by snow in January, the company said, and pretax profit in the period will fall to approximately 120 million pounds from 127.1 million pounds in the corresponding period last year.

Geox sank 5.1 percent to 2.41 euros while Metro AG was down 6.2 percent to 21.14 euros.

Among the stocks that gained ground were Brunello Cucinelli, up 6.2 percent to 16.97 euros; Ferragamo, 2.1 percent to 21.98 euros, and Yoox, 1.4 percent to 14.60 euros.