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U.S. Retail Shares Gain 0.2% on Strong April Sales

Dow and European markets retreat from recent highs.

U.S. retail stocks added to recent gains Monday on news of better-than-expected retail sales in April.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group added 0.2 percent to finish Monday’s trading session at 778.93 after hitting a 52-week high of 780.31 in midday trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 percent to 15,091.68 while the S&P 500 finished the day virtually unchanged at 1,633.77.

Retail sales last month, expected to finish with a decline, instead rose 0.1 percent, reversing a March decline, with particularly strong results registered by apparel and accessories stores, up a seasonally adjust 1.2 percent.

Strong performers on the stock market included Zale Corp., up 3.5 percent to $5.07; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., up 2.9 percent to $18.24, and Nordstrom Inc. up 2.2 percent to $60.49. The largest declines among retailers came from Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., which lost 7.2 percent, to $42.90, after projecting first-quarter earnings that were substantially below analysts’ estimates, with sales weakening last month. That helped pull shares of The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. down 2.9 percent to $34.48.

European markets retreated from their highest level in almost five years, overshadowing the strong retail data in the U.S. The FTSE MIB fell the farthest, by 0.7 percent to 17,171.52, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris, 0.2 percent to 3,945.20. Frankfurt’s DAX was flat at 8,279.29, while London’s FTSE 100 was ahead 0.1 percent to 6,631.76.

The pound traded at $1.51 against the dollar, the euro $1.31 and the Swiss franc $1.07.

Retail and luxury stocks put on a mixed show, with the day’s biggest gainers including Yoox.com, up 2.8 percent to 16.36 euros; Compagnie Financière Richemont, 1 percent to 80.25 Swiss francs, and Marks & Spencer, 0.8 percent to 4.24pounds.

Among the stocks falling in value were Asos.com, down 1.2 percent to 34.28 pounds, and Ferragamo, 0.9 percent to 23.11 euros.