Nordstrom, Inc.

In a dark quarter for retailers, Wal-Mart shines

Surprisingly strong sales at Wal-Mart and an optimistic outlook from the world's largest retailer lifted a pall that settled over much of the sector in the past two weeks.

The company's shares jumped 9 percent in early trading Thursday and companies that had been beaten down after a slew of dismal earnings reports appeared to catch a draft from Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart's revenue climbed to $115.9 billion from $114.83 billion in the quarter, breezing past projections for $112.67 billion in revenue from industry analysts, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research forecast.

Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 1 percent, the seventh consecutive quarterly...