NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Retailers The Gap ( GPS) and Staples ( SPLS) were among the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 on Thursday. The S&P 500 increased 8.41 points, or 0.62%, to 1,374.09 on Thursday.
Shares of Gap increased 7.23% Thursday to $25.05. The retailer reported Thursday that February net sales rose 6% and that February comparable sales, which also factors in online sales, increased 4% compared with a year-ago loss of 3%. Analysts were expecting a drop of 1.4% in this area, according to Bloomberg, which cited Retail Metrics data. Gap's stock also hit a 52-week high Thursday of $26. The stock's 52-week low of $15.08 was set on Sept. 6. Gap has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 12.82X; the average for apparel retailer companies is 16.81X. For comparison, both Limited Brands ( LTD) and Nordstrom ( JWN) have higher forward P/Es of 14.4X and 13.54X, respectively. Twenty-one of the 32 analysts who cover Gap rate it at hold. Six analysts give the stock a buy rating and five rate it at sell. TheStreet Ratings gives Gap a B grade with a buy rating and $27.17 price target. The stock has risen 35.04% year to date.