A palpable lessening of investor stress levels about Japan and Libya allowed retail stocks and major equity indices around the world to come back strongly last week.
The S&P Retail Index rose 3.3 percent to 511.60 following a 0.2 percent increase on Friday. The performance, bolstered by better-than-expected results from specialty retailers including The Talbots Inc., Charming Shoppes Inc. and The Wet Seal Inc., put the retail index back into positive territory for the year. It’s now risen 0.8 percent since Jan. 1 after registered down 2.3 percent a week earlier.
Among 170 issues tracked by WWD, a strong majority of 142 enjoyed increases last week, versus 25 with declines and three that were unchanged.
The retail index paralleled performances by major indices around the world, including Tokyo’s Nikkei 225, which rose 3.6 percent for the week, to 9,536.13, after declining 10.22 percent a week earlier in the aftermath of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. It remains off 6.8 percent for the year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 3.1 percent last week to 12,220.59, putting its year-to-date increase at 5.6 percent. London’s FTSE 100, Paris’s CAC 40 and Frankfurt’s DAX rose 3.2 percent, 4.3 percent and 4.2 percent for the week, respectively, to 5,900.76, 3,972.38 and 6,946.36.
Among the international indices of note, the FTSE, DAX and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index all returned to positive territory for the year after registering year-to-date declines at the end of the prior week.