Wall Street Rallies as European Central Bank Cuts Rates

Retail shares gain 1.2 percent in the U.S.

Wall Street rallied today after the Mario Draghi-led European Central Bank pushed a key interest rate into negative territory to kick start the region’s recovery. 

The central bank changed the bank deposit interest rate to a negative 0.1 percent, which is intended to spur lending and ward off a deflationary price spiral.

“The key ECB interest rates will remain at present levels for an extended period of time in view of the current outlook for inflation,” Draghi said. “Moreover, if required, we will act swiftly with further monetary policy easing.”

In short, Draghi signaled that he stood ready to step in again to prop up the economy should prices fall too low.

Wall Street approved of the move and the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group increased 1.2 percent to 888.99 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.6 percent to 16,836.11.

The biggest gainers included Vince Holding Corp., which jumped 19.5 percent to $33.13 after reporting better-than-expected first-quarter earnings; Amazon.com Inc., 5.5 percent to $323.57; Stein Mart Inc., 4.3 percent to $13.81, and Under Armour Inc., 2.7 percent to $55.05.

In Europe, Milan’s FTSE MIB gained 1.5 percent to 21,951.07 as Paris’ CAC 40 rose 1.1 percent to 4,548.73 and Frankfurt’s DAX inched up 0.2 percent to 9,947.83.

The region’s gainers included Brunello Cucinelli, up 0.4 percent to 18.24 euros; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 0.3 percent to 145.75 euros, and Kering, 0.2 percent to 16.95 euros.

The euro traded at $1.36 against the U.S. dollar.