By  on August 24, 2009

Encouraging words from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, and signs from the housing market, lifted stocks higher Friday and allowed retail shares to register a gain for the week.

The S&P Retail Index rose 2.2 percent on Friday to 366.35, erasing declines earlier in the week. That not only produced a 1.3 percent advance for last week, but put the year-to-date gain at 31.2 percent and growth since the index hit its all-time low on Nov. 21 at 76.6 percent. The retail index was reset in June 2002.

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