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Stocks Perk Up

Nina Garcia boosts J.C. Penney.

Stocks markets gained today as investors set aside concerns about Spain’s finances and, in the case of J.C. Penney Co. Inc., the need for rigorous analysis.

Shares of Penney’s gained as much as 9.9 percent to $23.10 after Marie Claire fashion director Nina Garcia tweeted, “I’m @jcpenney’s HQ. Thank you Ron Johnson for the walk through of JCP’s prototype. Get ready to shop! Its going to be a game changer!”

Garcia, who is also a judge on “Project Runway,” recently took a gig as “style voice” for Penney’s and chief executive officer Ron Johnson was taking major vendors through a prototype in Dallas that brings to life more of his vision for the chain.

Shares of Penney’s eased off the Garcia bounce but still closed up 4.7 percent to $22.

On the broader scene, the S&P Retail Index fell 1.3 percent, or 7.73 points, to 602.42. The sector was dragged down by Amazon, which saw its stock fall 2.7 percent to $217.05, and RadioShack Corp., which fell 28.8 percent to $2.60 after the chain reported second-quarter losses and suspended its dividend.

Among those gaining ground were Zale Corp., up 23 percent to $3.16 after the company rejiggered its financing, and Iconix Brand Group Inc., ahead 4.8 percent to $17.77 despite falling profits.

European markets recovered somewhat after concerns over the stability of the Spanish and Greek economies weighed on stocks at the start of the week.

The FTSE MIB in Milan gained the most, rising 1.2 percent to 12,506.74, followed by the DAX in Frankfurt, which finished up 0.3 percent to 6,406.52 and the CAC 40 in Paris, which gained 0.2 percent 3,081.74.

Only the FTSE 100 in London lost ground, closing down 0.02 percent to 5,498.32, after Britain’s Office of National Statistics said today that the country’s economic output fell 0.7 percent in the three months to June, citing a slowdown in the construction sector. The figures were reported to be worse than economists had expected.

Among the fashion stocks gaining ground were Safilo Group, up 3.5 percent to 4.88 euros; Compagnie Financiere Richemont, 2.2 percent to 54.15 Swiss francs; Swatch Group, 1.9 percent to 66.15 Swiss francs  after reporting a 25 percent rise in its first half profits on Monday, and Tod’s, 1.4 percent to 72.30 euros.
Losing ground were French Connection, down 2.5 percent to 19 pence; Hermès, 0.6 percent to 221.15 euros, and Brunello Cucinelli, 1 percent to 10.62 euros.

The pound traded for $1.55 Wednesday, while the euro traded for $1.21 and the Swiss franc for $1.01.