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Retail Shares Up 0.2% to End Week, Month With Gains

Ann Inc. advances 4.1% following earnings ‘beat’ while PacSun sheds 17.7%.

U.S. retail stocks ended the month and an abbreviated week with plus signs as the flow of first-quarter earnings results slowed.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group picked up 0.2 percent on the day to close at 877.55, putting it 1.2 percent for the four-day trading week following Memorial Day and up 2.2 percent in May. The index remains down for the year, with the decline trimmed to 6.6 percent. Of the 103 trading sessions in 2014, the index has advanced 55 times and declined on 48 occasions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a 0.1 percent gain to close at 16,717.17 while the S&P 500 was up 0.2 percent, like its retail subset, to 1,923.57.

Retailers which had recently reported first-quarter financial results were among those with the largest swings in stock prices as the week ended.  Ann Inc., beating analysts’ consensus estimates despite lower profits, saw its shares appreciate 4.1 percent to $38.87, the second best performance among retail, fashion and beauty issues tracked by WWD.

The biggest leap came from American Apparel Inc., up 5.8 percent to 64 cents.
The largest decline came from Pacific Sunwear of California, down 17.7 percent to $2.42, after it reported a smaller net loss than analysts had anticipated but projected a second-quarter loss on same-store sales that are expected to be flat to down 5 percent.

Shares of Express Inc. were off 7.5 percent to $12.61 and Guess Inc. shares contracted 5.1 percent to $25.50. Like PacSun, both reported first-quarter results after the close of the markets on Thursday and provided cautious guidance for the current quarter.

After declining 4.9 percent on Thursday, shares of Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. recovered 2.3 percent, to close at $94.38. The stock had dropped on confusion about guidance for its first quarter, when gross margin is expected to be lower than in the first quarter of the just-concluded fiscal year, when it was 62 percent of sales. In the final quarter of the year, gross margin expanded 20 basis points to 59.9 percent of sales.

In Europe, the FTSE MIB in Milan climbed 0.6 percent to 21,629.71, while the DAX in

Frankfurt was up less than 0.1 percent to 9,943.27. The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.4 percent to 6,844.51, while the CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.2 percent to 4,519.57.

The advance in Milan put the FTSE MIB up 4.3 percent on the week and ahead 14 percent for the year. In descending order of performance in 2014, the Paris exchange was up 0.6 for the week and 5.2 percent for the year; the DAX rose 1.8 percent for a year-to-date gain of 4.1 percent, and the FTSE gained 0.4 percent for the week for a 1.4 percent gain so far in 2014.

The day’s biggest gainers included Safilo Group, 2.2 percent to 17.12 euros; Bonmarche Holding, 1.8 percent to 2.85 pounds, and Gemfields, 1.5 percent to 42 pence.

Among the stocks that lost the most ground were Koovs, down 2 percent to 1.51 pounds; Asos.com, 1.7 percent to 45.07 pounds, and Boohoo.com, 1 percent to 50 pence.

The euro traded at $1.36 against the U.S. dollar, while the pound fetched $1.67 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.11.