On the corporate front, Toll Bros. ( TOL), the Horsham, Pa.-based luxury-home builder, reported fiscal third-quarter earnings of $61.6 million, or 36 cents a share, on revenue of $554.3 million, coming in ahead of the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for a profit of 18 cents a share on revenue of $510.1 million. Shares gained 3.8%.

American Eagle ( AEO), the Pittsburgh-based fashion apparel retailer, reported an in-line profit for its fiscal second quarter and lifted its full-year earnings outlook early Wednesday. Shares closed higher by 6.2%.

Shares of the San Francisco-based specialty retailer Williams-Sonoma ( WSM) surged 11.6% after the company beat Wall Street's expectations for its fiscal second-quarter results and lifted its outlook for the full year.

Best Buy's ( BBY) stock dipped 1.1% after Wedbush Morgan downgraded the Minneapolis-based consumer electronics retailer to "underperform" and cut its 12-month price target to $14.50 from $20, citing an "unclear outlook, deteriorating fundamentals and a new CEO who lacks retail experience."

Express ( EXPR) shares plunged 11.1% after the Columbus, Ohio-based specialty apparel and accessories retailer slashed the company's full-year profit outlook for the second time following the release of worse-than-expected quarterly sales.

Chico's ( CHS), the Fort Myers, Florida-based specialty retailer of private branded, casual-to-dressy apparel, watched its shares pop 6.6% after the company reported second-quarter net income that leaped 22% and beat expectations as sales broadly increased across the brands.


--Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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