Retail stocks continued to rise Wednesday, perking up 0.4 percent, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average solidified its position above 11,000 and the S&P 500 continued to advance beyond 1,200.
The S&P Retail Index rose 1.97 points to 482.22, marking the sector’s sixth increase in as many sessions. The Dow increased 0.2 percent, or 21.46 points, to 11,144.57 and the S&P 500 advanced 0.1 percent, or 1.02 points, to 1,211.67. All three indexes hit new 52-week highs Thursday.
Retail gainers for the day included Chico’s FAS Inc., up 3.4 percent to $16.03; Dillard’s Inc., 2.2 percent to $28.10, and Limited Brands Inc., 2 percent to $27.56.
Stocks have been rallying on signs of stronger sales and a turn in the employment market, but a weekly Labor Department report on initial claims for unemployment amounted to a step back Thursday.
Initial claims rose unexpectedly for the second straight week, increasing by 24,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 484,000. Economists were looking for a week-to-week drop of 20,000.
China said its economy grew 11.9 percent in the first quarter, versus a year earlier, and the value of the country’s imports and exports shot up 44.1 percent to $617.85 billion.
Still, the SSE Composite Index dipped 0.04 percent to 3,164.97 in Shanghai Thursday. Total retail sales of consumer goods in China advanced 17.9 percent for the quarter to 3.64 trillion yuan, or $532.1 billion at current exchange.
“Rapid growth was registered in emerging areas for consumption,” said Li Xiaochao, a spokesman for China’s National Bureau of Statistics of China. Overall consumer prices rose 2.2 percent for the quarter even as apparel prices fell 0.9 percent in the country.
In other Asian trading, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.6 percent to 11,273.79 in Tokyo and the Hang Seng Index inched up 0.2 percent to 22,157.82 in Hong Kong.
European investors pushed the FTSE 100 up 0.5 percent to 5,825.01 in London and the CAC 40 ahead 0.2 percent to 4,065.65 in Paris.