Oil prices and unemployment claims fell, and second-quarter gross domestic product rose, sending stocks sharply higher Thursday and retail shares higher still. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 212.67 points, or 1.9 percent, to end the day at 11,715.18 following the encouraging pieces of economic news. The Standard & Poor’s Retail Index, however, rose even more sharply, ending the day at its highest point for the session with a 2.1 percent pump to 400.43. The S&P 500 advanced 1.5 percent and the Nasdaq 1.2 percent. Zale Corp. led fashion retailers with a 20.6 percent spike in its stock price after it reported a fourth-quarter loss well short of analysts’ expectations and backed that up with 2009 guidance above consensus estimates as well. Tiffany & Co. also qualified for double-digit status with
a 10.7 percent increase following a strong second-quarter report highlighted by solid sales results outside the U.S. A day after reporting wider second-quarter losses, Dillard’s came up with a 9 percent increase in its shares, slightly better than Men’s Wearhouse and Coldwater Creek, both of which reported quarterly results after the markets closed on Wednesday. On the other side of the ledger, Quiksilver saw its shares shed 6.8 percent a day after it penned an agreement to sell its Rossignol ski business to an Australian buyer.
* Editor’s note: European stocks are quoted in the currency of their principal exchanges. Shares on the London Stock Exchange are quoted in pence, Richemont and The Swatch Group are quoted in Swiss francs and Hennes & Mauritz is quoted in Swedish kronor. All other European stocks are in euros.