Continuing signs of economic improvement trumped concerns about the crisis in Egypt and lifted retail stocks 3.4 percent for the week.


A 0.8 percent uptick in the S&P Retail Index Friday lifted it to 524.28, putting it into positive territory for the first time in 2011. The index began the year at 508.38 but, as of Feb. 4, remained down 0.1 percent since the end of 2010. It spent the entire week of Feb. 7 above 500, something it hadn’t done since the holiday-shortened week of Jan. 17.


Among the 171 fashion, beauty and retail issues tracked by WWD, 137 were up last week versus 33 that were down and one that was flat.


Retail shares outshined the major indices last week, although all registered increases for the week. Increases on Friday put the Dow Jones Industrial Average at 12,273.26, up 1.5 percent for the week and 6 percent for the year; the S&P 500 at 1,329.15, up 1.4 percent for the week and 5.6 percent for the year, and the Nasdaq Composite at 2,809.44, up 1.5 percent for the week and 5.9 percent for the year.


Overseas markets generally enjoyed a strong week, led by the DAX in Frankfurt, which closed Friday at 7,371.20 after a 0.4 percent rise Friday gave it a 2.2 percent advance for the week and left it up 6.6 percent in 2011. London’s FTSE 100 ended the week up 1.1 percent at 6,062.90, 2.8 percent above its 2010 close, while, in Paris, the CAC 40 rose 1.3 percent to 4,101.31, a robust 7.8 percent ahead of its endpoint last year.


In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was up 0.6 percent for the week to 10,605.65, putting it up 3.7 percent for the year, and Shanghai’s SSE Composite Index closed at 2,827.77, giving it a weekly lift of 1 percent to pull up its 2011 performance up to a 0.7 percent increase. However, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 4.5 percent last week to 22,828.92, pulling down its year-to-date decline to 0.9 percent.

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