NEW YORK — Stocks rallied yesterday as calming news in the tech sector elevated indices, taking apparel companies and retailers along for the ride.
In its second-largest point gain ever, the Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped 402.63 points, to close at 9,918.05, an increase of 4.2 percent. The Nasdaq closed up 146.20 to 1,785.00, a jump of 8.9 percent. Much of the gain came when computer-giant Dell said it would meet recently lowered profit expectations.
Whether or not the rally is sustained today could determine if the stock markets hit bottom yet.
According to Walter Loeb, of Loeb Associates, the rally was “encouraging to the consumer,” even if won’t “erase the pain” the public has endured over the past few months of rollercoaster market rides.
Loeb noted that this weekend brings Palm Saturday, the retail version of the religious holiday the next day. “After that, retailers have to slash prices, and during March the lower than anticipated sales, due to weather and lack of confidence, caused an involuntary inventory accumulation,” said Loeb.
Prime examples of slow movers for the day were Wal-Mart, which rose 67 cents to $50.54, and May Co. up 20 cents to $35.70. Federated, though, fared better and managed to pick up $1.45 to end the day at $42, while Target was up $1.54, to $35.85.
Apparel specialty stores taking part in the rally included: American Eagle, up $1.81 to $30.31; Abercrombie & Fitch, up $3.09 to $35; Christopher & Banks, up $4 to $31.50; Chico’s, up $3.16 to $35.81; Gap, up $1.10 to $24.50, and Kohl’s, up $3.08 to $58.69.
Apparel vendors posting gains included: Kenneth Cole, up $1.66 to $27.25; Oakley, up 70 cents to $17.60, and Timberland, up $2.93 to $48.43. Jones Apparel Group rose $1.36 to $37.99. Separately, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jones’s chairman, Sidney Kimmel, sold 459,100 shares at $38.12, or $17.5 million of his stake in the company, on March 1. As of March 31, he held 7.3 million shares of Jones’ stock, representing 5.9 percent of the company.