Retail Stocks Set New High on Wall Street

Sector outperforms market, gaining 1.4 percent.

U.S. retail stocks retook the high ground on Wall Street today.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group gained 1.4 percent, or 10.21 points, to 755.56 as trading settled, setting a new all-time record of 758.73 in midday trading.

Retail was bullish versus the broader market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.2 percent, or 24.50 points, to 14,700.80.

First time jobless claims fell by 16,000 last week to 339,000. That drop was much bigger than the 4,000 decline economists projected and a hopeful signal from the job market for investors. Gaining ground in the fashion world were Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., up 5.7 percent to $56.56; The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 5 percent to $14.38; Sears Holdings Corp., 4.5 percent to $50.52; Aéropostale Inc., 4.2 percent to $14.07, and Guess Inc., 4.1 percent to $26.99.

Revlon Inc. missed out on the bullishness. Its stock fell 7.5 percent to $19.01 after refinancing charges pushed the company to a $6.9 million first-quarter loss.

Most European stock markets were also on the rise.

The DAX in Frankfurt advanced 1 percent to 7,832.86, as the FTSE MIB in Milan gained 0.5 percent to 16,649.75, and the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.2 percent to 6,442.59.

Running countertrend was the CAC 40 in Paris, which fell 0.1 percent to 3,840.47.

Among the gainers was Compagnie Financière Richemont, parent of Cartier, Alfred Dunhill and Van Cleef & Arpels. The stock climbed 2.4 percent to 76.35 Swiss francs, basking in the afterglow of news earlier this week that net profits for the year would rise 30 percent, with help from favorable currency movements.

Ferragamo advanced 2.6 percent to 23.11 euros while Metro AG was up 1.4 percent to 23.25 euros. Among the stocks that saw the biggest declines was Asos.com, down 1.7 percent to 30.81 pounds. The euro traded at $1.30 against the dollar while the pound fetched $1.53 and the Swiss franc went for $1.06.