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J.C. Penney, Amazon Boost Retail Stocks

Penney’s investors heartened by extended line of credit.

Retail stocks bucked the market today as both J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. took steps forward.

Penney’s stock gained as much as 6.4 percent before closing up 1.8 percent to $19.61. The company said late Tuesday that it had increased the size of its bank credit facility by $100 million to $1.85 billion, with a $400 million accordion feature allowing for additional leeway. Investors had worried about how the company would pay for its conversion to a shops-in-shop layout in the face of steep sales declines.

Amazon’s stock rose 4.2 percent to $269.47, in part on optimism surrounding the online giant’s e-book business and a new deal to boost its instant video offerings.

The two stocks helped pushed the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group up 0.6 percent, or 4.51 points, to 707.26, despite overall market pressure that pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.3 percent, or 35.79 points, to 13,982.91.

The Commerce Department also reported that January retail and food service sales inched up just 0.1 percent from the preceding month. That marked a slowdown from December’s growth of 0.5 percent, but was in line with economists’ projections.

Among the U.S. fashion stocks losing ground for the day were Fossil Inc., down 4.9 percent to $105.21; Movado Group Inc., 3.6 percent to $37.18; The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 3.4 percent to $11.63, and Quiksilver Inc., 2.9 percent to $6.42.

In Europe, markets closed on the upswing with the DAX in Frankfurt up 0.7 percent to 7,711.89, followed by the FTSE MIB in Milan, which grew 0.4 percent to 16,712.15. The FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris both advanced 0.3 percent, to 6,359.11 and 3,698.53, respectively.

The euro traded at $1.34 against the dollar, while the pound went for $1.56 and the Swiss franc was valued at $1.09.

Retail and luxury stocks were mostly up, with the day’s biggest gainers including Asos.com, up 1.3 percent to 27.37 pounds and Compagnie Financière Richemont and Hermès International, which both climbed 1.8 percent, to 74.75 Swiss francs and 253.15 euros, respectively.

Among the stocks logging small losses were Mulberry, down 0.4 percent to 14.30 pounds, and Yoox, off 0.2 percent to 13.87 euros.