By and  on June 16, 2014

U.S. retail shares returned to positive territory after spending last week with losses.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was up 0.5 percent to 879.74, well above the gains registered by the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500, which advanced less than 0.1 percent to 16,781.01 and 1,937.78, respectively.

The increasing violence in Iraq and possible implications for world oil markets limited investor bullishness, despite small declines in prices following a spike at the end of last week.

“We do not consider this a high threat at present, but the militants could seize control of pipelines or other infrastructure in the oil supply chain,” wrote energy analysts at IHS Global Insight. “We do not consider this a high threat at present, but such infrastructure, as well as producing assets, will be a tempting target if the [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] offensive moves into higher gear.”

Several specialty store issues logged gains beyond those of the retail sector at large as Jefferies analyst Randal Konik identified stores in the sector that, based on financial metrics and qualitative attributes, were deemed most attractive for takeover efforts by private equity investors.

Among the firms seen as most attractive, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. shares were up 1 percent to $42.14, Guess Inc. rose 3 percent to $26.83, and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. added 2.9 percent to $11.64. Chico’s FAS Inc. and Ann Inc. both advanced 1.4 percent to $16.87 and $40.94, respectively.

Among all the U.S.-based equities tracked by WWD, Inter Parfums rose the most, up 6.8 percent to $29.64, followed by Lands’ End Inc.’s 4.6 percent climb to $31.90.

The largest declines came from Cache Inc., down 4.3 percent to $1.57, and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., off 3.8 percent to $90.29.

Earlier in the day, Europe’s major indices lost ground, with the FTSE MIB leading the way. The Milan-based exchange declined 0.9 percent to 21,976.26 points.

Next came Paris’ CAC 40, down 0.7 percent to 4,510.05. Meanwhile, London’s FTSE 100 and Frankfurt’s DAX each retreated 0.3 percent, to 6,754.64 and 9,883.98, respectively.

Among the biggest gainers was Debenhams, up 2.5 percent to 73 pence. Next and Mulberry Group advanced 1.1 percent each to 63.20 pounds and 7.16 pounds, respectively.

Stocks in the red included Ted Baker, down 3.1 percent to 18.12 pounds; Aeffe, which declined 2.3 percent to 1.26 euros, and Safilo Group, which dipped 1.7 percent to 15.40 euros.

Mysale Group, which operates flash sale sites in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and the U.S., ended at 2.10 pounds during its first day of trading on London’s AIM market. Some attributed its weakness to confusion about whether the initial pricing, at 2.26 pounds, was denominated in pence or pounds.

The pound traded for $1.55 against the U.S. dollar while the euro was priced at $1.32. The pound hit a five-year high against the dollar after Bank of England governor Mark Carney signaled the Britain might tighten monetary policy.

“It could happen sooner than markets currently expect,” he said in remarks last week.

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