Retail stocks ran with the pack on Wall Street today and posted modest gains.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 0.3 percent, or 1.78 points, to 666.78, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.3 percent, or 39.55 points, to 13,074.04.

Fashion’s gainers included Lululemon Athletica Inc., up 7.3 percent to $73.57 after the firm posted a 47.7 percent gain in third-quarter profits; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., up 3.5 percent to $18.14; Fossil Inc., 3 percent to $89.31, and G-III Apparel Group, 2.2 percent to $36.97.

European markets closed on an 18-month high. Some of the enthusiasm was said to stem from optimism that U.S. lawmakers would cut a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” slate of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts.

The DAX in Frankfurt made the strongest gains, increasing 1.1 percent to 7,534.54, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris, which rose 0.3 percent to 3,601.65, and the FTSE 100 in London, which expanded 0.2 percent to 5,901.42.

However, the FTSE MIB dropped 0.8 percent to 15,835.22.

Retail and luxury stocks were predominantly up. The day’s biggest gainers included Compagnie Financière Richemont, up 1.9 percent to 73.20 Swiss francs; Inditex, 1.3 percent to 99.92 euros; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 1.1 percent to 138.30 euros; and Mulberry, 1.7 percent to 11.63 pounds, even though the firm said aftertax  profits declined 35 percent to 7.3 million pounds in the six months to Sept. 30.

The Swiss franc traded at $1.08 versus the dollar, while the euro was worth $1.31 and the pound was valued at $1.61. 

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