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Retail Stocks Slip in U.S., Europe

Google’s oops, jobless claims weigh on markets.

Retail stocks generally lost favor on both sides of the Atlantic today as investors sought to read the economic and political tea leaves, but came up short.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group fell 0.3 percent, or 2.01 points, to 655.51, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average notched down 0.1 percent, or 8.06 points, to 13,548.94.

The decliners included Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., down 7 percent to $2; The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 6.8 percent to $11.84; Zale Corp., 4.2 percent to $7, and Citi Trends Inc., 4.1 percent to $11.45.

Markets were pressured by Google Inc., which accidently released its third-quarter results midday. The company’s stock dropped 8 percent to $695 after earnings fell short of expectations.

Investors were also disappointed by initial jobless claims, which rose by 46,000 last week—twice the increase economists projected. News on the employment front has been mixed lately. The economy has added jobs only slowly, but the unemployment rate fell below 8 percent in September for the first time sine early 2009.

 

In Europe, markets held steady as European Union’s leaders met in Brussels for the first-day of a two-day summit.

The talk already has been downbeat. French President Francois Hollande said that efforts to stem the debt crisis might unravel if member states fail to deliver on their promises.

The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.1 percent to 5,917.05, while the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.2 percent to 3.535.18. The DAX in Frankfurt grew 0.6 percent to 7,437.23 and the FTSE MIB in Milan was down 0.3 percent to 16,185.45.

Retail and luxury stocks were mostly down. The biggest decliners included PPR, down 1.2 percent to 133.15 euros; Compagnie Financière Richemont, 3.5 percent to 60.10 Swiss francs; Ferragamo, 4.3 percent to 16.35 euros; Swatch Group, 2.5 percent to 67.25 percent, and LVMH Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton, down 1.6 percent to 126.80 euros.

Bucking the trend were Mulberry, up 2.9 percent to 13.48 pounds, and Asos.com, ahead 1.9 percent to 25.42 pounds.

The pound traded at $1.61 versus the dollar, the euro at $1.31, and the Swiss franc at $1.08.