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Retail Stocks Rally as Market Posts Strong Gains

Even a $2.3 billion quarterly loss at Fannie Mae couldn't hold off the charge of the bulls on Wall Street on Friday.

Even a $2.3 billion quarterly loss at Fannie Mae couldn’t hold off the charge of the bulls on Wall Street on Friday.

With crude oil falling to $115 a barrel, the stock market shrugged off Thursday’s losses and the Dow Jones Industrial Average mushroomed more than 302 points, or 2.7 percent, to 11,734.32. And after enduring a 2.1 percent drop on Thursday, as retail sales came on at disappointing levels with signs of more trouble to come, the Standard & Poor’s Retail Index climbed 6.2 percent to 381.92.

The wide disparity between the euro and the dollar narrowed sharply on Friday as well, with the euro finishing the week at $1.50, down from nearly $1.56 at the start of the week.

While the movement of retail shares was nearly universally upward, Eddie Bauer Holdings led the pack of advancers with a 25.2 percent gain for the day, to $6.50, following a strong second-quarter earnings report on Thursday evening. Other specialty stores exceeding the S&P Retail performance included Mothers Work (up 9.8 percent), Hot Topic (up 9.2 percent), Urban Outfitters (up 8.7 percent), Dress Barn and Limited Brands (both up 8.4 percent), Wet Seal (up 8.3 percent), Charlotte Russe (up 7.2 percent), Gap (up 6.9 percent), AnnTaylor Stores and The Children’s Place (both up 6.5 percent) and Buckle (up 6.2 percent).

Macy’s isn’t among the stores that report monthly sales, but it shared in Friday’s surge as well, advancing 9.6 percent to $20.73. Shares have now risen 44.7 percent since hitting a 52-week low of $14.33 on July 11 amid
concerns about the department store firm’s liquidity and ability to compete. Speculation about the company’s condition was answered by Macy’s chief executive officer Terry Lundgren in a letter to company executives later
made public, and by analysts asserting its fiscal health.

Coming off a comparable-store sales gain in July, unusual among the department stores report, Dillard’s shares enjoyed an 8.6 percent increase to $10.85. Penney’s and Kohl’s comps were down 6.5 and 10.4 percent,
respectively, but their shares fared better on the week’s final trading day, rising 6.6 and 6.2 percent. Stein Mart shares picked up 10 percent on the day, landing them at $4.96.

Coach picked up 9.1 percent during the session, ending at $29.89; Tiffany advanced 6.7 percent, to $41.23, and Guess added 7.5 percent to $35.83.

Among vendors, strong advances came from Kenneth Cole Productions (9.3 percent), Movado Group (9.2 percent), Liz Claiborne (8.2 percent), Timberland (7.5 percent), Jones Apparel Group (7.4 percent) and Warnaco Group (7.2 percent).

Among those logging strong performances on European exchanges were Luxottica Group, up 9.8 percent, and Bulgari, up 6.2 percent.