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Retail Stocks Regain Winning Ways

Store shares manage 0.2% increase for week.

U.S. retail stocks resumed their winning ways last week, eking out a 0.2 percent increase despite a down day on Friday.

The S&P Retail Index declined 0.6 percent Friday to 332.21, but still finished above the 331.66 mark at which it concluded the previous week.

However, in a reversal of trends of the last two months, the retail equity number didn’t keep pace with the major indices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 2 percent on Friday and finished the week ahead 4.4 percent at 8,574.65, while the S&P 500 rode a 2.4 percent Friday rise to a 5.9 percent five-day gain, ending the week at 929.23. The Nasdaq Composite Index on Friday advanced 1.3 percent, ending the week with a 1.2 percent gain at exactly 1,739.

Retail stocks had advanced for seven consecutive weeks before finishing down 2 percent the week of April 27.

Among the best performers last week were Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc., whose stock more than doubled to 71 cents, even after chief executive officer Neil Fiske declined to comment on published reports the firm was in talks with potential buyers, Gordon Brothers and Hilco Consumer Capital.

Hot Topic Inc. endured a 15.8 percent drop during the week, ending at $9.77, after it failed to live up to analysts’ expectations for April same-store sales, sparking concern that its success with “Twilight”-themed merchandise might be running out of steam. Shares of Saks Inc., which moved as high as $5.40 the week of April 27, eased 9.8 percent last week to $4.53.

Overseas markets enjoyed a strong week, led by a 12 percent increase in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, which closed at 15,520.99. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was up 5.1 percent for the week, ending at 8,977.37.

The Paris Bourse was closed Friday for a national holiday, but the CAC 40 closed Thursday at 3,312.59, up 4.8 percent for the week. London’s FTSE 100 was up 5.2 percent for the five days, to 4,462.09, including a 1.4 percent run-up on Friday.