By  on November 2, 2007

Worried that there will be an end to Fed interest rate cuts, investors fled the stock market Thursday. Major indices were down sharply and retail stocks followed suit, with many in the sector seeing declines of 3 to 6 percent.

Wall Street fretted over weakness in the housing market as well as prospects of higher energy costs.

As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 362 points, or 2.6 percent, to close at 13,567.87 while the S&P 500 also fell 2.6 percent to finish the day at 1,508.44.

In the retail sector, the S&P Retail Index plunged 3.2 percent to close at 446.10.

Companies showing steep drops in stock values included Abercrombie & Fitch Co., down 6.5 percent to $74.02; Aéropostale Inc., which was off 7.2 percent to $21.26, and Bebe Stores Inc., which fell 6 percent to $13.07.

Outside the specialty channel, Kohl's Inc. fell 3.4 percent to close at $53.10, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. declined 2.6 percent to $44.03. One of the few bright spots was Saks Inc., which is said to be the target of an acquisition. The retailer ended Thursday up 3.5 percent to $21.89.

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