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U.S. Retail Stocks Decline 1%

Fed statement weighs on Wall Street.

Retail stocks fell 1 percent on Wall Street today with J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Amazon.com weighing on the sector.


The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group fell 6.70 points to 636.71 points, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell a milder 0.2 percent, or 25.19 points, to 13,077.34 following a dour assessment of the economy from the Federal Reserve.


Shares of Penney’s were off 3.6 percent to $24.71, while Amazon slipped 2.5 percent to $228.49 as investors continued to gauge the impact of Apple Inc.’s new mini iPad.


The Jones Group Inc.’s stock fell 6.1 percent to $12.27 after the company reported flat sales for the third-quarter. The company’s sales were hurt by planned reductions in Jones New York shipments and the shifting strategy at Penney’s, which is being reinvented by chief executive officer Ron Johnson.


On the broader scene, the Ben S. Bernanke-led Fed said the economy continued to need support. The central bank is buying $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities a month and is swapping out shorter-term debt for longer-term obligations in an effort to keep interest rates low.


“The committee [which sets monetary policy] remains concerned that, without sufficient policy accommodation, economic growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions,” the Fed said.


The central bank noted the stronger gains recently in household spending, but also pointed out the businesses have slowed their fixed investments.


Markets closed up in Europe before the U.S.’s central bank weighed in.


Milan’s FTSE MIB led the advance, climbing 0.8 percent to 15,706.56, followed by Paris’ CAC 40, which was up 0.6 percent to 3,426.49. Frankfurt’s DAX advanced 0.3 percent to 7,192.85 while London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.1 percent to 5,804.78.


Retail and luxury stocks put on a mixed show, with the day’s biggest gainers including Safilo Group, which advanced 4.2 percent to 6.57 euros, and Yoox, which was up 2.6 percent to 11.41 euros.


Among the stocks that lost ground were Asos.com, which sank 1.9 percent to 24.62 pounds; Brunello Cucinelli, 1 percent to 13.29 euros, and Geox, 1.4 percent to 2.21 euros.


The euro traded at $1.30 versus the dollar while the pound traded at $1.60.