Dillard’s Inc. surged to a four-month high after reporting strong third-quarter earnings. The Arkansas-based department store chain, which operates nearly 300 stores in 29 states, surprised Wall Street by turning a profit during the quarter. Analysts had expected a loss. Dillard’s also managed to hold sales at existing locations steady, a key measure of a retailer’s health. Wall Street expected a 2% dip. The encouraging earnings report comes ahead of the important holiday shopping season. Department store operators and other retailers rely heavily on sales between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.