Sears and Best Buy surge on Wall Street

Sears sign Image copyright Reuters

Rising sales at Best Buy and and cosmetics retailer Ulta brought rare good news for the US retail sector, bolstering markets on Thursday.

Best Buy shares jumped more than 21% after the electronics retailer reported a rise in first-quarter sales.

The chain was the biggest riser on the S&P 500, which climbed 10.68 points, or 0.44% to a record close of 2,415.07.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose .34% to 21,082.95, while the Nasdaq was up 0.69% at a record close of 6,205.26.

The gains mean the markets have more than made up for last week's losses, when rising political tensions in Washington spooked Wall Street.

The quarterly earnings from some of the country's retailers also pointed to a stronger second quarter.

Best Buy said it expects same-store sales in the second-quarter to grow by between 1.5% and 2.5%.

In the first quarter, strong demand for games products helped the company to post a 1.6% rise in sales at stores open for more than a year.

Ulta said it expects its second quarter sales to grow more than 17.5%.

Like other make-up retailers, Utla has been growing, even amid the downturn in retail.

The firm said its same-store sales - which includes online transactions and stores open at least two years - rose 14% in the quarter. Total sales climbed more than 22% year-on-year.

Even Sears saw its shares surge, after the company reported its first quarterly profit for nearly two years.

The retailer reported a profit of $244m, helped by its cost-cutting programme and the sale of its Craftsman tools brand to Stanley Black & Decker earlier this year.

However, underlying sales still saw steep declines. Same-store sales at its Sears stores in the US dropped 12.4%, whereas at the group's Kmart stores they fell 11.2%.