WWD.com/business-news/financial/european-markets-edge-down-6969669/
government-trade
government-trade

Global Stock Markets Decline

U.S. retail stocks fall 1.1 percent as investors focus in on interest rates and unemployment.

Stock markets around the world fell today, leaving U.S. retail shares down 1.1 percent as investors looked ahead to Friday’s report on employment.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was down 8.58 points to 771.72 as trading settled and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed off 1.4 percent, or 216.87 points, to 14,960.67.

The fashion-industry decliners included Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., off 3.9 percent to $42.96 after the company said its first-quarter earnings fell 45.5 percent to $8.1 million as comparable-store sales dropped 8.5 percent; New York & Company Inc., 3.3 percent to $5.52; Under Armour Inc., 3.1 percent to $59.63, and Nordstrom Inc., 2.3 percent to $58.01.

The U.S. private sector added 135,000 jobs in May, according to the ADP National Employment Report. That’s better than the 113,000 positions added in April, but not as strong as the 165,000 economists projected.

Investors are focused on the Labor Department’s more comprehensive look at the employment market on Friday.

Unemployment is expected to stay steady at 7.5 percent. But the Federal Reserve has said it would likely keep interest rates low until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent — meaning the market could take an unexpected drop in unemployment as a bad sign as it would eventually lead to higher interest rates.

Markets have become increasingly volatile as investors zero in on interest rates. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 3.8 percent to 13,014.87 today, setting Europe up for slightly lesser declines. The FTSE 100 in London dropped 2.1 percent to 6,419.31 as Paris’ CAC 40 slowed 1.9 percent to 3,852.44, Frankfurt’s DAX contracted 1.2 percent to 8,196.18, and Milan’s FTSE MIB shrank 1 percent to 16,971.17.

The pound traded at $1.51 against the dollar, while the euro was worth $1.31.

Retail and luxury stocks echoed the downturn. Among those losing the most ground were Burberry, down 2.9 percent to 13.94 pounds; L’Oréal, 2.8 percent to 125.65 euros; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 2.6 percent to 131 euros, and Asos.com, 2.5 percent to 39.12 pounds.

Making gains were Safilo, up 2 percent to 15.65 euros, and Inditex, 1.2 percent to 99.11 euros.