Retail stocks avoided an eighth straight day of declines as the S&P Retailing Industry Group added 0.5 percent.
The positive move still left the retail index down 3.3 percent for the week and off 5.5 percent for the year as cautious guidance from many fashion and retail firms has left investors unsure of the path ahead for these equities.
A late drop in biotech stocks reduced gains on the major indices. The S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent to 1,857.62, leaving it ahead 0.5 percent for the year but down the same percentage for the week, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended with a 0.4 percent gain to 16,323.06, up 0.1 percent for the week but down 1.5 percent so far in 2014.
Firms that have recently pleased Wall Street with better-than-expected fourth-quarter results and 2014 guidance were among the winners Friday. Vince Holding Corp. shares picked up 8.1 percent to close at $25.69 and Oxford Industries Inc., in its first session since reporting an earnings “beat” late Thursday, added 3.2 percent to close at $76.28.
While gainers outnumbered losers by about a three-to-one margin among issues monitored by WWD, Birks Group Inc.’s shares declined 7.6 percent to $1.10 while American Apparel Inc. pulled back 4.1 percent to 48 cents. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. shares were down 1.6 percent to $8.83.
Europe’s markets rallied earlier in the day after Chinese premier Li Keqiang said the government would invest in the country’s infrastructure to boost its economy.
The FTSE MIB in Milan led the way, rising 1.5 percent to 21,498.24, followed by the DAX in Frankfurt, up 1.4 percent to 9,587.19. The CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.7 percent to 4,411.26, while the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.4 percent to 6,615.58.
It was a largely positive day for fashion, luxury and retail stocks, though a few issues stumbled. fell 8.1 percent to 51 pence, while its fellow online retailer Koovs fell 3.8 percent to 1.78 pounds.  Hennes & Mauritz closed down 1.6 percent to 273 Swedish kronor after its first-quarter profits disappointed investors Thursday, while Esprit lost 1.4 percent to 12.90 Hong Kong dollars.
Those that gained ground included Safilo Group, up 3.1 percent to 15.70 euros; Mulberry, up 1.9 percent to 7.17 pounds; French Connection, which climbed 11.1 percent to 65 pence, and Prada, which closed up 2.9 percent to 61.05 Hong Kong dollars.
The pound traded for $1.66 against the U.S. dollar, while the euro went for $1.38, the Hong Kong dollar for 13 cents and the Swedish krona for 15 cents.

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