By and  on August 21, 2013

American Eagle Outfitters led retail stocks lower today, falling 9.9 percent to $14.76, after the company put forward weak third-quarter guidance, fueling investor worries about the second half.

“We faced a highly promotional and competitive retail landscape and a decline in traffic, which have continued into the third quarter,” said Robert Hanson, chief executive officer of the firm. American Eagle’s second-quarter profits rose just 3 percent while comparable-store sales fell 7 percent.

The teen retailer set its third-quarter earnings per share at 14 cents to 16 cents, well below the 35 cents analysts projected.

A wide range of companies, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Macy’s Inc., have recently sounded cautious notes for the second half of the year.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group fell 0.8 percent, or 6.82 points, to 814.54, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, declined 0.7 percent, or 105.44 points, to 14,897.55.

Also losing ground were J.C. Penney Co. Inc., down 4.9 percent to $13.33; Aéropostale Inc., 4.8 percent to $11.42, and Target Corp., which declined 3.6 percent to $65.50 after the company said its quarterly earnings fell and pointed investors to the lower end of its profit projections for the year.

In Europe, the FTSE MIB in Milan lost 0.7 percent to 16,896.81, the FTSE 100 in London and the DAX in Frankfurt both dropped 0.6 percent, to 6,654.34 and 8,305.32, respectively, and Paris’ CAC 40 slipped 0.3 percent to 3,956.79.

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

The gainers included Mulberry, up 3 percent to 10.61 pounds, and Marks & Spencer, 0.6 percent to 4.75 pounds.

Among the decliners were, down 2.5 percent to 37.95 pounds; Inditex, 1.3 percent to 97.75 euros, and Kering, 0.8 percent to 170.60 euros.

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