U.S. retail stocks outperformed the market today as key players weighed in with second-quarter results.

The S&P Retail Index, which offers a snapshot of a broad selection of chains, rose 1.2 percent, or 7.56 points, to 639.75, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.7 percent, or 85.33 points, to 13,250.11.

One of the strongest gainers was Sears Holdings Corp., which narrowed its quarterly loss and saw its stock gain 6.5 percent to $60.29. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which beat expectations for the quarter but slowed international expansion for this year, dropped 3.1 percent to $72.15.

Retail remains a game of investor expectations as the second-half outlook for the consumer remains murky.

In Europe, markets were up. The FTSE MIB in Milan rose 1.9 percent to 14,930.30 while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.9 percent to 3,480.49. The DAX in Frankfurt increased 0.7 percent to 6,996.29 and the FTSE 100 in London edged up 0.03 percent to 5,834.51.

Banking stocks led the gains, including Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and Credit Agricole in Paris. Investors are reportedly optimistic that the European Central Bank will move to ease Spain’s financial situation, which in turn led to yields on Spain’s ten-year bonds falling.


It was a mixed day for fashion, luxury and retail stocks. Gainers included Carrefour, up 2.9 percent to 16.24 euros; Inditex, up 1.6 percent to 86.50 euros; Tod’s, which gained 1.3 percent to 84.50 euros, and Brunello Cucinelli, which surged 6.1 percent to 13.42 euros.

Stocks that lost ground included Ferragamo, which dipped 1.1 percent to 17.19 euros and, Hermès, down 0.7 percent to 223 euros.

The euro traded for $1.23 Thursday, while the pound traded for $1.57.