By and  on May 24, 2013

Wall Street eased into Memorial Day weekend with a flattish close today.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group inched down 0.1 percent, or 1.02 points, to 788.76, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1 percent, or 8.60 points, to 15,303.10.

Both indices have been on a run and remain near their all-time highs, but investors are beginning to debate when the Federal Reserve might scale back the momentary stimulus that has helped keep interest rates low and propelled markets higher.

Losing ground in the worlds of retail and fashion were Sears Holdings Corp., down 13.6 percent to $50.25 after posting a $279 million first-quarter loss; Aéropostale Inc., off 10.4 percent to $14.76 after projecting a second-quarter loss, and Abercrombie & Fitch Co., which fell 8 percent to $50.02 on a 15 percent drop in quarterly comparable-store sales.

The Procter & Gamble Co. saw its stock gain 4 percent to $81.88 after A.G. Lafley returned as chairman, president and chief executive officer.

European markets were on the retreat. The FTSE 100 in London and Frankfurt’s DAX were both down 0.6 percent, to 6,654.34 and 8,305.32, respectively. Milan’s FTSE MIB slid 0.7 percent to 16,896.81 and Paris’ CAC 40 dropped 0.3 percent to 3,956.79.

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

Retail and luxury stocks showed mixed results, with the day’s biggest gainers including Mulberry, up 2.7 percent to 10.58 pounds and Marks & Spencer and Safilo were both up 0.6 percent, to 4.75 pounds and 13.90 euros, respectively.

Among those stocks posting losses were, down 2.4 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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