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Stocks Post Third-Straight Gain

U.S. retail stocks ahead 1% as Dow adds 213 points.

U.S. retail stocks rallied to their third-straight positive trading session Monday, gaining 1 percent after a shaky start.

The S&P Retail Index, which was down in midday trading, ended with a 5.03-point gain to 495.58 as trading settled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 1.9 percent, or 213.88 points, to 11,482.90.

Among the strongest of the retail gainers were Dillard’s Inc., up 7.7 percent to $44.69, and Saks Inc., ahead 5.5 percent to $9.07. Saks will report second-quarter results Tuesday morning. Despite the day’s gains, investors remain on edge and are keenly attuned to Europe’s sovereign debt troubles.

Europe’s markets ended the day up, following Japan’s better than expected GDP performance and the promise of Tuesday’s meeting between France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany’s Angela Merkel, where the two will discuss the Eurozone debt crisis.

The FTSE 100 closed up 0.6 percent, the CAC 40 finished up 0.8 percent and the DAX was up 0.4 percent.

Several luxury stocks also managed to post gains — Hermes closed up 2.4 percent, Swatch Group finished up 5.4 percent and Richemont was up 2.4 percent.

It is unclear whether Merkel and Sarkozy will consider the possibility of issuing Euro bonds, a government debt that is backed by all members of the Eurozone, when they meet Tuesday. According to reports, both France and Germany remain opposed to the idea of Euro bonds. But several figures in Europe, including Italy’s economy minister Giulio Tremonti, have suggested joint bonds could be a way out of Europe’s debt crisis. Joint bonds could lower the borrowing costs of European countries that are struggling, but would raise the borrowing costs of stronger countries, like Germany.