CORRECTED - US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Retailers shine on monthly sales

Thu Mar 4, 2010 4:29pm EST

(Corrects percentage gain on S&P 500 in last paragraph)

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - Retailers rose on Thursday on strong monthly sales figures, offsetting declines in the mid- and smallcap stocks stemming from the energy sector.

Women's apparel retailer Coldwater Creek Inc CWTR.O posted a quarterly loss that missed estimates by a penny, but its full-year outlook exceeded estimates and its shares soared 24 percent to $6.71. For details see [ID:nSGE6220KV].

Teen apparel shares were among the top gainers after posting a surprise increase in February same-store sales. Zumiez Inc (ZUMZ.O) sales rose 11.2 percent, well above the 1.2 percent gain expected on Wall Street, sending its shares up 10.1 percent to $17.62. For teen retailer details see [ID:nN04134149].

Lower-priced Aeropostale Inc (ARO.N) shares gained 6.5 percent to $37.51 after it logged a 7 percent rise in sales compared with analysts' 4 percent forecast and said that gross margins expanded during the month.

"The consumer is frugal and value oriented and some of those retailers are benefiting," said Scott Billeaudeau, portfolio manager at Fifth Third Asset Management in Minneapolis.

Shares of medium and small energy companies stumbled as U.S. natural gas futures NGJ0 settled down more than 3.8 percent after a government inventory report showed an unexpectedly light weekly draw.

The midcap energy sector .4GSPE fell 1.2 percent and the energy smallcaps .6GSPE dropped 0.3 percent.

"The data is certainly one thing driving energy lower," said Billeaudeau.

The S&P MidCap 400 index .MID rose 0.1 percent while the S&P SmallCap 600 index .SML advanced 0.4 percent. In comparison, the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.4 percent.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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