What happened

Shares of Macy's Inc. (M -1.52%) moved higher today. Not only were they riding a broader wave in the retail sector, but also OTR Global upgraded the stock to neutral and Guggenheim reaffirmed its buy rating on the department-store chain on Friday. As of 3:18 p.m. EDT, the stock was up 5.2%.

The flagship Macy's store in New York City's Herald Square

Image source: Macy's.

So what

Macy's wasn't the only retail stock gaining today; the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT -0.71%) was up 2.7%. Though there was no specific news driving up retail stocks, investors seem to be bullish about this holiday season, and a strong November retail sales report, out last week, also may have stoked investor hopes. OTR Global said it upgraded the stock after it found sell-through rates meeting or exceeding expectations due to strong e-commerce trends. Meanwhile, Guggenheim reaffirmed its buy rating and $27 price target, 4% above the current price.

Now what

Macy's stock has been on a tear since the company reported better-than-expected earnings results in its November report; shares have now rallied 33% in a little more than a month. Investors seem to be willing to overlook 12 straight quarters of declining comparable sales amid reports of a strong Black Friday weekend, and a general sense that retailers are bouncing back from recent struggles.

Macy's real estate portfolio, which at one point was valued at as much as $21 billion according to Starboard Value, has also been a source of income as the company sells and consolidates properties; it offers investors some security.

I'd still be concerned about the company's falling sales and profits, but we'll learn more when Macy's reports holiday sales in a couple of weeks.