U.S. retail sales grew at twice the expected rate last month and boosted overall investor sentiment — but retailers themselves missed out on today’s good vibes.


The S&P Retail Index slipped 0.1 percent, or 0.47 points, to 615.72 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6 percent, or 71.82 points, to 12,921.41. That disparity can at least partially be explained by retail’s strong run this year, the sector is up 17.7 percent so far in 2012, compared with the Dow’s 5.8 percent gain.


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The day’s decliners included Michael Kors Holdings, down 3.5 percent to $42.10; Quiksilver Inc., 2.5 percent to $3.59; Fossil Inc., 2.3 percent to $127.45; Maidenform Brands Inc., 2.2 percent to $22.53, and Liz Claiborne Inc., 1.4 percent to $12.97.


Bucking the trend was The Talbots Inc., which rose 7.1 percent to $2.86 — bouncing back after Friday’s 14.7 percent decline, which came on the heels of a $53.3 million fourth-quarter loss.


The U.S. Commerce Department said March retail sales grew 0.8 percent from February — twice the 0.4 percent gain economists expected.


In Europe, most major markets closed the day on a positive note after starting off flat.


The DAX in Frankfurt climbed 0.6 percent to 6,625.19, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris, up 0.5 percent to 3,205.28, and the FTSE MIB in Milan, which rose 0.4 percent to 14,411.24.


Only the FTSE 100 in London closed down, falling 0.8 percent to 5,666.28. Financial stocks including Lloyds Banking Group, Man Group and Royal Bank of Scotland Group led the falls in London.


The region’s gainers included Tod’s, up 2.6 percent to 85.30 euros; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 2.5 percent to 130.30 euros; Richemont, 2 percent to 56.70 Swiss francs, and Inditex, 1.4 percent 69.74 euros. Among the decliners were Asos.com, down 1.7 percent to 15.99 pounds; Mulberry, 2 percent to 21.81 pounds, and Safilo Group, 1.6 percent to 4.75 euros.


The pound traded for $1.61, while the euro went for $1.37 and the Swiss franc traded at $1.07.

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