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Retail Stocks Climb Monday

Stocks for Liz Claiborne, Abercrombie & Fitch and Nordstrom advanced yesterday.

Retail stocks began August by padding their 5 percent bounce in July, rising 2.1 percent on Monday amid signs the economic recovery, while not strong or swift, is being sustained.

The S&P Retail Index advanced 8.15 points to 413.21 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 208.44 points, or 2 percent, to end the trading day at 10,674.38. The Dow’s advance came on top of a 7.1 percent rebound last month.

Investors were reassured, if not necessarily elated, over several pieces of economic news Monday. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke told a conference he expects a pickup in consumer spending in the “coming quarters from its recent modest pace.” The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index stood at 55.5 for July, down from 56.2 in June but still above the 50 mark indicative of production growth.

Additionally, The Conference Board reported online job openings increased by 139,200 in July, above the recent monthly average of 43,000. Mid-Atlantic states have been “posting steady and strong upward trends throughout the year,” noted June Shelp, vice president of The Conference Board.

Liz Claiborne Inc. logged the biggest advance of the 172 equities tracked by WWD, rising 7.2 percent to $5.08. Retailers leaping at least twice as fast as retail stocks in general included Abercrombie & Fitch Co., up 5.1 percent to $38.84; Nordstrom Inc., 4.4 percent to $35.51, and Macy’s Inc., 4.3 percent to $19.46. The Bon-Ton Stores continued its recent upward trajectory with a 4.7 percent pickup to $10.01, and Zale Corp. continued to gain following Golden Gate Capital’s recent expansion of its stake in the troubled jeweler to 34.5 percent, growing 5.1 percent to $1.85.

The advance in U.S. equities followed strong days for stocks in Europe and Asia. The CAC 40 was up 3 percent to 3,752.03 in Paris and London’s FTSE 100 rose 2.7 percent to 5,397.11. Frankfurt’s DAX ended the trading day at 6,292.13, up 2.3 percent.

While Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 managed just a 0.4 percent gain, to 9,570.31, Hong Kong’s Hang Sang Index logged a 1.8 percent advance, to 21,412.79, and Shanghai’s SSE Composite Index enjoyed a 1.3 percent increase, to 2,672.52.