By and  on November 18, 2013

U.S. retail stocks gave up ground today as both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 reached milestones they were unable to hold as trading ended.

The S&P Retailing Industry Group contracted 0.9 percent to 919.33 as many broadlines retailers gave back some of the gains they registered last week.

The Dow topped 16,000 for the first time ever before settling at 15,976.02, up 0.1 percent, at the end of the trading day. The S&P 500 finished the day down 0.4 percent at 1,791.53 after peaking at 1,802.33, its first visit above 1,800, earlier in the day.

Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. were both caught in the sell-off with identical declines of 6.5 percent to $45.83 and$41.14, respectively. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. shed 3.5 percent to land at $8.71 while The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. receded 3.7 percent to $12.80 and Sears Holdings Corp. declined 2.1 percent to $63.01.

Among issues tracked by WWD, gains were concentrated among specialty stores, with American Apparel Inc., The Wet Seal Inc. and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. rallying more than 3 percent. Guess Inc., American Eagle Outfitters Inc., Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and The Buckle Inc. also finished in positive territory for the day.

Investors reacted to Carl Icahn’s “very cautious” outlook on stocks, delivered during an address to the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit, and to the expected release on Wednesday of notes from the last meeting of the Federal Reserve, which determined that the U.S. economy remained too weak to justify a pull back in the central bank's support for the economy.

Europe’s markets rose, helped along by stronger-than-expected data on trade in the euro zone.

The FTSE MIB led the way up, rising 2.2 percent to 19,105.46, while the CAC 40 in Paris grew 0.7 percent to 4,320.68, Frankfurt’s DAX gained 0.6 percent to 9,225.43 and London’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.5 percent to 6,273.46.

The euro traded at $1.35 against the dollar and the pound was worth $1.61.

Retail and luxury stocks were mostly up, with the day’s strongest gainers including Safilo, up 5.7 percent to 16.96 euros; Yoox.com, 5 percent to 30.25 euros; Mulberry, 4.6 percent to 10.72, and Luxottica, 2.5 percent to 39.73 euros.

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