US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Stocks rise; retailers among top gainers

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, June 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Mid- and small-capitalization
stocks rose on Thursday, helped by solid same-store sales at a
number of retailers including Pier 1 Imports (PIR.N: ).

Home-goods retailer Pier 1 said same-store sales surged in
the first quarter as more consumers visited its stores and
spent more. For details, see [ID:nSGE6520DS] Its shares jumped
11.7 percent to $8.28.

Aeropostale (ARO.N: ) shares jumped 5.5 percent to $29.96
after the teen apparel company said May same-store sales
increased 1 percent.

As a whole, however, sales of U.S. retailers were
lackluster and came in just shy of Wall Street expectations.

“Fundamentals are good and modestly improving for
companies, and that’s why you’re seeing some buying,” said
Scott Billeaudeau, portfolio manager, Fifth Third Asset
Management in Minneapolis.

That should bode well for second-quarter earnings for
smaller-cap stocks.

“The consumer is still spending…(and) these companies
have got their costs in shape,” Billeaudeau said.

The S&P MidCap 400 index (.MID: ) rose 0.8 percent while the
S&P SmallCap 600 index (.SML: ) advanced 1.4 percent. In
comparison, the benchmark S&P 500 (.SPX: ) gained 0.5 percent.

Among other gainers, Sonicwall Inc (SNWL.O: ) surged 25.5
percent to $11.28, a day after the IT security company agreed
to be bought by an investor group led by private equity firm
Thoma Bravo in a deal valued at about $717 million.

Also, Fuelcell Energy Inc (FCEL.O: ) jumped 22.1 percent to
$2.60 after it said it was awarded a $12.6 million contract to
install power plants in two university campuses by a unit of
PG&E Corp (PCG.N: ). [ID:nSGE6520HI]

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(Editing by Leslie Adler)

US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Stocks rise; retailers among top gainers