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Retail Stocks Rise 1.5%

S&P Retailing Industry Group enjoys fifth largest percentage gain of year.

The first day of the second quarter brought good news to investors as retail shares logged their fifth strongest day of the year.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group retook the 900 mark with a 1.5 percent gain to end the trading session at 903.52. The index had closed below 900 every day since March 24, and the 1.5 percent gain was the highest since retail stocks advanced 1.9 percent on Feb. 25.

Major indices in the U.S. and Europe enjoyed gains, although the broader markets’ increases were more modest. The S&P 500 was up 0.7 percent to 1,885.52 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5 percent to 16,532.61.

In Europe, the FTSE MIB in Milan climbed the most, rising 1 percent to 21,915.41, while the FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris each picked up 0.8 percent to end at 6,652.61 and 4,426.72, respectively. Frankfurt’s DAX moved up 0.5 percent to 9,603.71.

Among the U.S.-based equities tracked by WWD, Coldwater Creek rose the most, adding 40 percent to close at 22 cents after its 76.1 percent drop on Monday amid speculation about a possible bankruptcy filing. Delia’s Inc. shares were up 14.3 percent to close in on the $1 level at 96 cents. G-III Apparel Group Ltd. moved ahead 4.5 percent to $74.81.

The Wet Seal Inc. was down 3.8 percent to $1.27 and Inter Parfums Inc. surrendered 2.3 percent to $35.37. After rising 2.5 percent on Monday in the wake of a strong fourth-quarter earnings report last week, shares of Oxford Industries Inc. declined 1.8 percent to $76.80.

Fashion, luxury and retail stocks in Europe were also largely on an upswing.

Among those with the strongest increases were French Connection, up 5.9 percent to 68 pence; Brunello Cucinelli, which gained 5.1 percent to 20.19 euros; Boohoo.com, which rose 3.3 percent to 55 pence, and Koovs, which climbed 4.2 percent to 1.70 pounds.

Meanwhile, activewear retailer Sports Direct was one of the top performers on the FTSE 100, rising 4.8 percent to 8.92 pounds. The rise followed a research note from Liberum Capital detailing the retailer’s growth potential in Europe.

The few stocks in the sector that closed down included Safilo Group, which lost 1 percent to 15.17 euros; Italia Independent, which fell 1.5 percent to 38.70 euros, and Burberry, which fell 0.5 percent to 13.88 pounds.

The euro traded for $1.38 against the U.S. dollar while the pound changed hands for $1.66.