U.S. stocks advanced, extending a rally in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a fourth day, as retailers climbed amid rising March sales and jobless claims dropped more than estimated.
Ross Stores Inc. advanced 5.9 percent as March sales beat forecasts. Rite Aid Corp. reached the highest closing level in more than three years after the drugstore chain reported its first annual profit since 2007. Technology shares slumped as personal-computer shipments in the first quarter plunged the most since at least 1994 and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. downgraded Microsoft Corp. shares. Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard Co. lost more than 4.4 percent.