The S&P 500 climbed to a new 2009 high last week, closing the week up 1.7% to 1,105.98. Nine out of 10 sectors posted gains, with energy as the only laggard. A flurry of good news fueled the market’s gains last week: Concerns surrounding Dubai’s debt situation began fading; the unemployment rate unexpectedly dipped to 10% from 10.2%; and Bank of America pledged to pay back the $45 billion of taxpayer money it borrowed.

Pops and drops
Here are the five biggest S&P 500 upticks and five biggest S&P 500 drops of last week (measured Friday close to Friday close):

Winners on the week:


Percentage Gain on the Week

Big Lots (NYSE:BIG)


Robert Half International


Micron Technology


Apartment Investment & Management


Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD)


Source: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's).

Losers on the week:


Percentage Loss on the Week

GameStop (NYSE:GME)


Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF)


American International Group (NYSE:AIG)


Family Dollar Stores (NYSE:FDO)


UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)


Source: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's).

A closer look
Though there was a good deal of positive news, last week also told the story of disappointing retail sales for the month of November. Teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch reported that comparable-store sales for the month of November tumbled 17%, worse than the 9% decline analysts were expecting. Total sales slipped 8%.

Family Dollar managed to post an increase in November same-store sales of 2.4%; however, analysts had expected an increase of 4%. Although traffic increased during the quarter, the average value of purchases was flat. Despite the shortfall, the discount retailer maintained first-quarter earnings guidance. Total net sales inched up nearly 4% for the month.

One retailer that managed to buck the downward trend was Big Lots. The discount retailer closed out a strong week after reporting better-than-expected third-quarter results and raising full-year and fourth-quarter guidance. Big Lots is taking advantage of the economic climate, given its status as a discount retailer. The firm opened 52 new stores this year -- more than expected -- as it seeks to take advantage of better-located property. However, the retailer is also closing 30 stores this year, down from the 40 it initially planned to close. Big Lots also said it would buy back $150 million in stock.

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Fool contributor Jennifer Schonberger owns shares of Bank of America, but does not own shares of any of the other companies mentioned in this article. GameStop and UnitedHealth are Stock Advisor picks. UnitedHealth is also an Inside Value recommendation. The Motley Fool owns shares of UnitedHealth and has a bear put spread on Abercrombie & Fitch; it also has a disclosure policy.