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Retail stocks managed only their fourth two-day winning streak of the year, and their first in over a month, as the S&P Retail Index went above 250 on Wednesday.


The performance of store equities easily outpaced those of the major indices. While the S&P Retail Index was up 4.12, or 1.7 percent, to 250.59, the Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out an advance of 3.91, less than 0.1 percent, to end the day at 6,930.40 and the S&P 500 crept up 1.76 points, or 0.2 percent, to 721.36. The Nasdaq Composite managed a 13.36 point, or 1 percent, bump to 1,371.64.

While dwarfed by the retail index’s 7.7 percent vault on Tuesday, Wednesday’s performance constituted a moral victory in that it was only the fourth time in 2009 that the index had gained on back-to-back days. The index last was able to follow an up day with another on Feb. 6, when it closed at 279.48, adding 3.5 percent on top of the previous session’s 3.3 percent gain. Prior to that, it was up a total of 5.5 percent on Jan. 15 and 16 and managed its only three-day spurt at the very start of the year. The index actually moved ahead five sessions in a row beginning on Dec. 30 and finished the string on Jan. 6 at above 300, a level it has not reached since.

Among the strongest performers on Wednesday was J. Crew Group Inc., shares of which rose 7.2 percent to $10.42 following its report late Tuesday of a smaller-than-anticipated fourth-quarter loss. Liz Claiborne Inc. and Lululemon Athletica Inc. ramped up 7.1 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, to $2.11 and $5.37, and Macy’s Inc. rose 6.7 percent to $7.85.