NEW YORK — Apparently fueled by a combination of bottom fishing and hopes for better prospects in 2001, retail stocks led a rally in the broader market on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 110.72 points, or 1.04 percent, to 10,803.16 and the Nasdaq over-the-counter market ran up 45.84, or 1.84 percent, to 2,539.36, bolstered by some recovery in the beleaguered technology sector as well as strength in retail.
Maura Hunter Byrne, retail analyst at Salomon Smith Barney, said retail stocks in general underwent a rough year as investors worried about the slowdown in consumer spending, but some investors are apparently betting that the declines are bottoming out. They also anticipate that the Federal Reserve Bank will cut interest rates in January to boost the economy.
“The valuations were increasingly attractive,” said Byrne. “The market also assumes we’re getting an interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve and that will help consumer spending next year.”
Byrne also suspects that specialty retail stocks in particular were helped by a report from the International Council of Shopping Centers that showed sales among specialty retailers were up 2.2 percent from Nov. 24 to Dec. 24. Sales had been running negative until last week. The report also pointed to apparel as one of the strongest categories, up 3 percent.
Among the best gains from specialty stores were: American Eagle Outfitters, $5.73 to $43.10; Abercrombie & Fitch, $4.13 to $20.94; Ann Taylor, $2.56 to $24.69; Chico’s FAS, $3.84 to $24.13; Dress Barn, $1.50 to $27.38; Gap, $2.13 to $25.56; J. Jill, $1.56 to $15.13; Pacific Sunwear, $4.50 to $25.88; Stein Mart, $2.63 to $13.19; TJX, $2.25 to $28.50; Talbots, $3.19 to $45.38; Wet Seal, $2 to $20.63; Tiffany & Co., $1.56 to $32; Intimate Brands, $1.13 to $15; and Limited, $1.13 to $17.13.
Broadline stores also saw big gains, although a number of them — Wal-Mart, Federated, Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Target — on Tuesday said that December sales would fall short of plan. Still, big gains went to Kohl’s, $4.69 to $60.63; Federated, $2.56 to $33.56; The May Department Stores Co., $2.94 to $33.13, Sears, $1.86 to $34.50; Target, $1.63 to $32.25; and Wal-Mart, $1.94 to $52.56.
Fewer vendors enjoyed the rally, but Columbia Sportswear shot up $5 to $54; and Timberland surged $6.50 to $67.63. Other gainers were Coach, $1.50 to $25; Kenneth Cole Productions, $1.94 to $40.94; Delta Galil, $1.50 to $14.25; Gucci, $1.19 to $89.88, and Nike, $2.63 to $56.69.