U.S. retailers got a late Christmas gift today as retail shares continued their upward trajectory despite mixed results for the season.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 0.8 percent to 942.14, a record close for the index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced for the sixth consecutive trading session and also ended the day in record territory with a 0.8 percent increase to 16.479.88. The S&P 500 rose a more modest 0.5 percent at 1,842.02 but still landed at a new record level.
While retailers were focused on their holiday receipts and residual inventories, investors were reassured by a decline in weekly applications for state unemployment benefits.
Initial reports on the holiday season suggested modest growth for the November-December period. MasterCard SpendingPulse pinned the increase in seasonal sales at 2.3 percent, with apparel eking out gains provided by strength in the children’s wear classification. Jewelry was the leading classification for the season, the company said.
Target Corp.’s shares picked up 1.3 percent to $62.48 even as calls for scrutiny into its recent security breach spread. Columbia Sportswear Co. logged a 3.1 percent increase in its stock price, to $79, as reports continued to pinpoint outerwear as one of the strongest categories of the season. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. saw its shares add 2.5 percent, to $8.97, while Zale Corp. enjoyed a 2.4 percent jump to $16.53 on jewelry’s seasonal strength.
Among a handful of issues with declines were specialty retailers Pacific Sunwear of California, down 6.2 percent to $3.35, The Wet Seal Inc., down 2.7 percent to $2.57; Christopher & Banks Corp., down 1.8 percent to $8.96, and Tilly’s Inc., down 1.5 percent to $11.05.
European markets were closed.