By  on February 9, 2010

Word the European Union WAs poised to step in to help Greece work through its growing debt crisis calmed U.S. investors Tuesday, pushing retail stocks up 1.2 percent and helping the Dow Jones Industrial Average bounce back well over the 10,000 mark.

The S&P Retail Index added 4.51 points to close at 396.78 and briefly flirted with the 400 barrier not seen since last week.

The Dow finished the day at 10,058.64, up 150.25 points, or 1.5 percent, and at one point reached 10,139.43 after closing below 10,000 for the first time since November on Monday.

EU officials are scheduled to meet Thursday, raising hopes for a Greek bailout as well as for a lift for Greece’s partners in the “PIIGS” European group, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain, all saddled with serious budget deficits and increasing doubts about their ability to fund them.

Reports of progress toward a resolution of the Greek debt problem, which have put downward pressure on stocks around the world all year, came late in the European trading day. Still, the CAC 40 in Paris finished up 5.49 points, or 0.2 percent, at 3,612.76, while the FTSE 100 was up 19.51 points, or 0.4 percent, at 5,111.84.

Earlier, Asian markets finished mixed, with the Nikkei 225 down 0.2 percent to 9,932.90 in Tokyo and the Hang Seng Index ahead 1.2 percent, at 19,790.28. China’s SSE Composite Index finished the day with a 0.5 percent gain to 19,790.28.

Among U.S. retailers, robust gains were registered by Charming Shoppes Inc., up 7.2 percent to $5.67, and AnnTaylor Stores Corp, 4.6 percent to $15.14.

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