Retail stocks charged back 2.1 percent Thursday morning as the Dow Jones Industrial Average retook 10,000 on signs of an improving U.S. labor market, stronger growth in Europe and robust exports from China.


The S&P Retail Index was up 8.95 points to 431.20 at noon. The Dow raced ahead 2.1 percent, or 208.06 points, to 10,107.31. Markets shot up Wednesday morning only to give back their gains in a late-day sell-off as investors sought to find their footing amid the slow U.S. recovery and debt troubles in Europe.


Investors were buoyed Thursday by a fresh reading on first-time jobless claims, which fell by 3,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 456,000, according a Labor Department report.


The European Central Bank also decided to hold its key interest rates steady and boosted its outlook for the Eurozone GDP this year to 0.7-1.3 percent.


Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the central bank, said there was an environment of “unusually high uncertainty.”


“A stronger or more protracted than expected negative feedback loop between the real economy and the financial sector, renewed increases in oil and other commodity prices, and protectionist pressures, as well as the possibility of a disorderly correction of global imbalances, may weigh on the downside,” Trichet said.


European investors were feeling cheery, though, and pushed the CAC 40 up 2 percent to 3,516.64 in Paris, the DAX ahead 1.2 percent to 6,056.59 in Frankfurt and the FTSE 100 up 0.9 percent to 5,132.50 in London. Additionally, the euro rebounded to nearly $1.21.


Chinese exports in May increased 48.5 percent over year-ago levels, exceeding forecasts and helping to allay fears that uncertainty in the Americas and Europe might derail growth in Asia.


The Nikkei 225 rose 1.1 percent to 9,542.65 in Tokyo and the Hang Seng Index inched up 0.1 percent to 19,632.70 in Hong Kong.

For complete coverage, see Friday’s issue of WWD.

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