Wall Street roared into May with signs of continued strengthening in the U.S. manufacturing sector helping to push retail stocks to a new high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average recaptured ground not seen since late 2007.
The S&P Retail Index was up 1 percent, or 6.35 points, to 654.49 in midday trading — a new record for the broad measure of retail stocks. The Dow charged up 0.9 percent, or 117.42 points, to 13,331.05.
Leading the retail gainers was Sears Holdings Corp., which rose 19.5 percent to $64.28 following word that the company would post a first-quarter profit. Also gaining were Abercrombie & Fitch Co., up 5.9 percent to $53.13; Michael Kors Holdings, 5.7 percent to $48.29, and The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 4.5 percent to $6.48.
Shares of Avon Products Inc. missed the rally, slipping 7.8 percent to $19.91 following a sharp percent drop in first-quarter profits.
Manufacturing activity expanded for the 33rd consecutive month in April, according to the Institute of Supply Management’s purchasing managers index, which rose to 54.8 from 53.4 in March. Economists expected the index to fall to 53.
The group’s new export orders index rose to 59 in April from 54 in March, with the strongest gains coming from textile mills, furniture and related products, apparel and leather and allied products. London’s FTSE 100 gained 1.3 percent to 5,812.23 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.8 percent to 9,350.95.
Most other markets were closed for a holiday.