The S&P 500 hit an all-time high today, and its retail component marked the occasion by moving above 900.
Moved in part by optimism on the mergers and acquisitions front, the S&P Retailing Industry Group rose 0.7 percent to 902.66, its first close above the 900 level since Jan. 23. The positive finish also evened out the winning and losing sessions for the retail index this year at 18 each.
The S&P 500 rose 0.6 percent to close at 1,847.61 and hit an all-time high of 1,858.71 in midday trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also rose 0.6 percent, to 16,207.14.
Helping to boost the market, The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. raised its bid for Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. to $63.50 a share from $57.50 for a total buyout price of about $1.78 billion. The new offer rekindled Wall Street’s belief that a deal would get done, sending Jos. A. Bank’s shares up 9.1 percent to $60.04 and Men’s Wearhouse’s ahead 7.5 percent to $48.51.
Their gains, however, were outstripped by shares of Delia’s Inc., up 25 percent to 95 cents on growing hopes of a turnaround for the specialty chain aimed at tween and teen girls. American Apparel Inc. also made back some of the ground lost last week with a 13.6 percent increase to 70 cents.
Dillard’s Inc. shares shed 6.4 percent to close at $83.60 after it reported declines in sales, profits and gross margins in the fourth quarter and missed analysts’ consensus estimates. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp. saw their stocks decline even more, with Penney shares down 7.3 percent to $5.23 and Sears down 7 percent to $38.05.
In Europe, markets made modest gains with the CAC 40 in Paris leading the way.
The French market was up 0.9 percent to 4,419.13, while the DAX in Frankfurt advanced 0.5 percent to 9,708.94. The FTSE 100 in London and the FTSE MIB in Milan both closed up 0.4 percent to 6,865.86 and 20,477.50 respectively.
Retail and luxury stocks were mostly on the uptick, with the day’s biggest gainers including Ferragamo, up 2.2 percent to 23.52 euros; Geox, 2.8 percent to 3.13 euros; French Connection, 2.1 percent to 57 pence, and Kering, 1.5 percent to 153.75 euros.
Among the stocks that lost ground were Bonmarché Holding, down 1 percent to 2.86 pounds, and Yoox.com, 0.3 percent to 30.92 euros.
The euro traded at $1.37 against the U.S. dollar while the pound fetched $1.66 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.13.