Retail stocks outperformed on Wall Street today, with J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Dillard’s Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. all logging dramatic increases after reporting first-quarter results late Thursday.

Penney’s stock jumped 16.3 percent to $9.73 as investors applauded signs of a rebound seen in the company’s first-quarter earnings, which showed a 6.3 percent gain in sales to $2.8 billion.

Dillard’s stock increased 14.9 percent to $111 after the company said its comparable-store sales rose 2 percent in the quarter. And Nordstrom was up 14.7 percent to $70.55 following a 6.6 percent rise in sales to $2.93 billion. Nordstrom also said it was exploring the sale of its $2 billion credit card receivables.

On the broader market, the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group increased 1.2 percent to 851.90, while the Dow Jones Industrial Averageinched up 0.3 percent to 16,491.31.

In Europe, the FTSE MIB in Milan rose 1.1 percent to 20,648.59, as the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.2 percent to 6,855.11. However the CAC 40 in Paris fell 1 percent to 4,456.28 and the DAX in Frankfurt slipped 0.3 percent to 9,629.10.

The region’s gainers included Luxottica Group, up 2.5 percent to 41.68 euros; Aeffe, 1.4 percent to 1.09 euros; Tod’s, 0.8 percent to 99.85 euros, and Salvatore Ferragamo Italia, 0.5 percent to 22.90 euros.

The euro traded at $1.37 against the U.S. dollar.

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