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Retail Hits New High on Wall Street, Then Recedes

Markets slip as shutdown hits its third day.

Retail stocks rose to new highs on Wall Street today, but ultimately ceded ground as the Washington budget stand off went into its third day.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group traded as high as 864.73 — a new record — but closed off 1.1 percent, or 9.31 points, to 852.98. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.9 percent, or 136.66 points, to 14,996.48.

Stocks have continued to rise to new highs in recent months, in part because the Federal Reserve has continued to pump more money into the economy, keeping interest rates low.

The day’s decliners included J.C. Penney Co. Inc., down 3.6 percent to $8.41; Perry Ellis International Inc., 2.2 percent to $18.20; Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc., 2.2 percent to $24.32; Under Armour Inc., 1.8 percent to $80.88, and Amazon.com Inc., 1.8 percent to $314.76.

A group of conservatives in Congress have held up funding for the federal government in a bid to adjust or delay President Obama’s healthcare reform.

The government shutdown, which has 800,000 “nonessential” workers off the job, has yet to seriously impact the markets.  But it’s still not business as usual. The Labor Department’s monthly update on employment, initially scheduled to come out Friday, has been postponed.

Across the Atlatnic, most markets also lost ground.

The CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.7 percent to 4,127.98, while Frankfurt’s DAX and Milan’s FTSE MIB both dropped 0.4 percent, to 8,597.91 and 18,018.22, respectively. The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.2 percent to 6,449.04.

The region’s retail and luxury stocks put on a mixed show, with the day’s biggest gainers including Yoox.com, which added 1.4 percent to 24.63 euros, and Ferragamo, which rose 1.3 percent to 26 euros.

Among the stocks that fell were Mulberry, down 1.3 percent to 9.50 pounds; Hennes & Mauritz, 1 percent to 272.10 Swedish krona, and Asos.com, 0.9 percent to 49.91 pounds.

The pound traded at $1.62 against the dollar, while the euro was worth $1.35 and the Swedish krona 16 cents.