Retail Stocks Gain 0.2% on Wall Street

Equities score gains after hovering near breakeven most of day.

U.S. retail stocks closed the week’s opening sessions with gains after dwelling in minus territory for much of the day.

At the close, the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group eked out a 0.2 percent gain to end the session at 853.29. That was a stronger upswing than the 0.1 percent advance recorded by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which closed at 16,511.86 and below the 0.4 percent increase produced by the S&P 500, which closed at 1,885.08.

Following disappointing earnings reports from many broadline retailers last week and in advance of results from specialty and off-price stores, stocks treaded water for most of the day before gaining momentum later in the session.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which is slated to report first-quarter results on Thursday, paced the fashion, retail and beauty stocks tracked by WWD with a 6.3 percent increase to $10.77. Stein Mart Inc., also scheduled to report its Q1 results on Thursday, gained 2.5 percent to $13.39. Outside the retail sector, shares of Revlon Inc. added 3.6 percent to close at $30.44.

Shares of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. suffered some of the steepest declines, falling 3.8 and 3 percent, respectively, to $9.36 and $68.42.

Shares of Urban Outfitters Inc. were off 0.1 percent to $36.17 during the regular trading session. They shed an additional 3.8 percent after market closed following a first-quarter report in which profits were down slightly more than expected on continuing weakness at the Urban Outfitters brand.

In Europe, Milan’s FTSE MIB was down 1.6 percent to 20,318.46, followed by the FTSE 100 in London, off 0.2 percent to 6,844.55. However, the DAX in Frankfurt and the CAC 40 in Paris were both up 0.3 percent to 9,659.39 and to 4,469.76, respectively.

Retail and luxury stocks were mostly down, with a few exceptions. Among the day’s biggest declines were Koovs’ 5.6 percent descent to 1.53 pounds; Yoox Group’s 3.4 percent slip to 20.90 euros; Bonmarche Holding’s 7.8 percent drop to 2.60 pounds, and Aeffe’s 3.2 percent drop-off to 1.05 euros.

Among the few stocks that did gain ground were Hermès, 2.2 percent to 260 euros; Tod’s, 1.7 percent to 101.50 euros, and Gemfields, 1.3 percent to 40 pence.

The euro traded at $1.37 against the U.S. dollar, while the pound fetched $1.68 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.12.