Retail stocks slipped today as the fiscal cliff grew closer.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group fell 1 percent, or 6.97 points, to 661.97, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.7 percent, or 98.99 points, to 13,251.97.
Fashion’s decliners included Tumi Holdings Inc., down 3.1 percent to $22.22; Abercrombie & Fitch Co., 2.4 percent to $47.83; Under Armour Inc., 1.7 percent to $49.01; Saks Inc. 1.6percent to $10.78, and Tiffany & Co., 1.5 percent to $58.99.
Investors are glued to the debate in Washington, where lawmakers are trying to find a way to avoid the fiscal cliff—a set of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to kick at the start of 2013.
Markets shot up Tuesday as the White House and Congress appeared to make some progress only to reverse course today.
But even with the recent angst and uncertainty related to the fiscal cliff, retailers are capping off what’s been a strong year. The retail index is up 26.5 percent so far for 2012, well ahead of the Dow’s 8.5 percent gain.
In Europe, markets edged up at the close of trading on Wednesday, with the FTSE MIB in Milan leading the way.
The Italian market was up 1.1 percent to 16,328.74, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris and the FTSE 100 in London, which both advanced 0.4 percent, to 3,664.59 and to 5,961.59, respectively. The DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.2 percent to 7,668.50.
Retail and luxury stocks were mostly on the upswing.
Gaining the most were Hugo Boss, up 2.4 percent to 81.70 euros; Geox, 2.5 percent to 2.22 euros; Luxottica Group, 1.7 percent to 31.67 euros, and L’Oreal, 1.7 percent to 104.95 euros.
Among the few stocks that lost ground were Burberry Group, down 1 percent to 12.49 pounds; Carrefour, 0.8 percent to 19.41 euros, and Mulberry Group, 0.8 percent to 11.76 pounds.
The euro traded at $1.32 versus the dollar while the pound traded at $1.62 and the Swiss franc traded at $1.09.