By  on December 24, 2009

Retail stocks managed their fourth advance in as many trading sessions Wednesday, following the overall market higher despite a disappointing housing report.

The S&P Retail Index rose 2.18 points, or 0.5 percent, to 417.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average moved ahead less than 0.1 percent to 10,466.44 while the S&P 500 was up 0.2 percent to 1,120.59 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.8 percent to 2,269.64.

Although Wall Street was clearly disappointed by a Commerce Department report that sales of new homes fell 11.3 percent last month, overseas markets bore no such burden and rose in Europe and Asia, led by India’s BSE Sensex, up 3.2 percent to 17,231. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1.1 percent to 236.70, while Japanese markets were closed.

Gains were less pronounced in Europe, where London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.8 percent to 5,372.38 and the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.3 percent to 3,910.75.

Among U.S. issues, Quiksilver Inc. scored a double-digit increase, rising 22 cents, or 10.3 percent, to $2.35 after the firm closed on a European credit facility of 268 million euros, or $383.2 million at current exchange, to replace the 55 million euro, or $78.7 million, credit agreement that was due on Sept. 29 and other uncommitted European financing.

Standard & Poor’s removed the company from CreditWatch and affirmed its “B-minus” corporate credit rating and the “CCC” rating on its senior unsecured notes. S&P’s negative outlook on the company “reflects our expectation for continued difficult operating performance and concerns about the company’s ability to comply with its European facilities performance covenants,” S&P said.

Shares of Zale Corp. continued their precarious drift, dropping 11 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $2.42. That’s 71.6 percent below the 52-week high of $8.51, reached on Sept. 16. The company reported on Dec. 4 that its November same-store sales were off 18.6 percent and has since acknowledged “reviewing and canceling certain orders” and delaying some payments to vendors.

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