After two days of declines, investors dove into the market to gobble up financial sector stocks, which triggered a rally that sent retail and fashion apparel stocks into the green.
The rally was fueled by expectations on Wall Street that the Federal Reserve would delay a rate hike following Wednesday’s weak retail sales report and top-line woes at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as well as a drop in the consumer price index today. Also weighing in on investor sentiment was a jobs report that showed the number of people who applied for first-time unemployment benefits declined by 7,000 to 255,000 for the most recently reported week. This is the lowest level since 1973.
As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 217 points, or 1.3 percent, to 17,142 while the S&P 500 rose 1.5 percent to close at 2,024. The S&P Retailing Industry Group Index gained 1 percent to finish at 1,221. The WWD Global Stock Tracker finished the day up 0.5 percent to 108.48.
Many retail and fashion apparel stocks showed increases of between 1 and 2 percent. Some notable gainers included Bebe Stores Inc. with a 5.8 percent increase to $1.10 and Citi Trends Inc. with a 5.6 percent gain to $25.11. Burlington Stores Inc. climbed 3.9 percent to $51.04 while Columbia Sportswear Co. jumped 3.6 percent to finish at $57.84.
Earlier in the day, major indices in Europe closed up with the FTSE 100 in London rising 1.1 percent to 6,339 and the CAC 40 in Paris jumping 1.4 percent to 4,675 and the DAX in Frankfurt gaining 1.5 percent to 10,065.
In Asia, stocks also showed stronger gains with the Shanghai Index in China rising 2.3 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbing 2 percent to 22,888. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.2 percent to 18,097.