Retail stocks jumped 2.6 percent Wednesday, coming within 3 points of their 52-week high at one point, as U.S. equity markets shook off Tuesday’s declines in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The S&P Retail Index closed at 496.93, up 12.46 points, and peaked at 497.40, brushing up against the 499.41 52-week high reached on April 26. The index hasn’t stepped above the 500 mark since July 2007 but could be in a position to do so as early as Friday.
With first time unemployment claims down and fears easing about the Irish debt crisis, the major indices all advanced more than 1.3 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 150.91 points, or 1.4 percent, to 11,187.28. Retail issues were helped by generally positive reports about store and mall traffic, helping to set a positive tone ahead of Black Friday.
Retail advancers Wednesday were led by American Apparel Inc., ahead 12.7 percent to $1.60, and Guess Inc., up 10.5 percent to $50.12 after exceeding analysts’ consensus estimates with a 7.7 percent jump in third-quarter earnings late Tuesday. Tiffany & Co. shares were up 5.3 percent, to $61.33 following its strong report on third-quarter earnings, and chief executive Michael Kowalski’s statement that holiday sales to date had been “exceeding our expectations.”
U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for Thanksgiving Day but open with an early closing on Friday.