By  on October 27, 2009

Even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated further from the 10,000 mark Monday, retail stocks briefly passed their own milestone, and Limited Brands Inc., Lululemon Athletic Inc. and others boosted bottom-line guidance following the end of trading.

The S&P Retail Index topped the 400 mark for the first time since last month, but couldn’t sustain that height and ended with a 0.4 percent, or 1.41-point, rise to 396.46. The index went as high as 402.75 Monday morning.

The Dow sank 104.22 points, or 1.1 percent, to 9,867.96.

Earlier in the day, investors were encouraged by RadioShack Corp.’s third-quarter sales, which topped Wall Street projections by more than $29 million and helped drive the firm’s stock up 15.9 percent.

Fashion retailers also seem poised to jump the relatively low hurdles they set for themselves.

Limited Brands said its bottom line for the third quarter would range from breakeven to a loss of 4 cents a share, better than the 7-cent to 12-cent loss previously forecast. However, the outlook for October comparable-store sales worsened and the retailer is now looking for a low- to midsingle-digit drop instead of the roughly flat performance previously expected.

Lululemon said it expects third-quarter earnings of 17 cents to 19 cents a diluted share, compared with the 11 cents to 13 cents previously projected.

“Our sourcing and production strategies designed to chase inventory and keep pace with renewed sales momentum proved to be very effective during this fall season,” said Christine Day, chief executive officer.

And The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. said it expected its favorable third-quarter sales to minimize losses for the year and put them closer to the $2.50 mark, the high point of its most recent projections, than their low point of $3.70.

Shares of Bon-Ton rose 2.5 percent to $9.10 Monday, as Lululemon inched up 1.5 percent to $25.71 and Limited increased 1.4 percent to $19.49.

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