Consumer stocks lift Wall St after Target outlook

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Wednesday, led by gains in consumer stocks after a sales forecast from discounter Target Corp TGT.N temporarily quelled concerns about consumer demand.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, August 13, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Shares of Target rose 2.5 percent to $51.95 after the company said it expects same-store sales to increase 1 percent to 3 percent in the third quarter and be up slightly more in the fourth quarter. The outlook came a day after the stock market rallied on higher-than-expected earnings from Wal-Mart Stores WMT.N and Home Depot HD.N.

“Deflation worries are what’s been really pressuring the market. But the news from Target today, on top of Wal-Mart and Home Depot, is saying that we may not be in such a bad situation,” said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in San Francisco.

The consumer discretionary sector .GSPD gained 0.9 percent, the biggest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors.

But volume remained low as typical for the summer post-earnings period. The lack of a strong catalyst also kept investors from betting on stocks.

Just 6.66 billion shares traded on the combined NYSE Arca, Nasdaq and American Stock Exchanges, significantly lower than last year’s daily average of 9.65 billion.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 9.69 points, or 0.09 percent, at 10,415.54. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was up 1.62 points, or 0.15 percent, at 1,094.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 6.26 points, or 0.28 percent, at 2,215.70.

CBOE Volatility index .VIX, Wall Street's favorite yardstick for investor anxiety, rose 1.1 percent to 24.59.

Randy Frederick, director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab, said in a note that the intraday volatility pattern “is still very much alive.

“Until we get a clear sentiment shift, the markets are still catering mostly to those with a very short-term trading bias, or a very long-term perspective. For everyone in between, the gut-wrenching could continue for awhile,” he said.

In late trading, General Motors Co GM.UL filed for an initial public offering of stock, clearing a key hurdle toward repaying taxpayers for a controversial bailout just over a year after its bankruptcy.

GM’s initial filing with U.S. securities regulators did not say how many shares would be sold or give an expected price range for what will likely be one of the biggest IPOs ever.

Warehouse club operator BJ's BJ.N cut its earnings forecast for the year, sending shares down 2.7 percent at $42.14.

Farm equipment maker Deere & Co DE.N fell 1.9 percent to $65.98 after it beat estimates but said sales were "far below normal levels".

On the Nasdaq, Cisco Systems CSCO.O rose 1.6 percent to $22.41, helping the tech heavy index.

Analog Devices Inc ADI.N rose 4.4 percent to $30.08 a day after the microchip maker posted a quarterly profit that topped estimates and issued a better-than-expected fourth-quarter outlook.

On the New York Stock Exchange, advancers beat decliners 17 to 12. On Nasdaq, about 13 stocks rose for every 12 that fell.

Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry