By and  on August 5, 2013

U.S. retail stocks closed at another all-time high Monday as the major indices retreated slightly from their recent record-setting closing levels. On the slowest trading day of the year, the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group eked out a 0.1 percent pickup, to end the day at 851.10 following Friday’s 850.40 close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 stepped back 0.3 and 0.2 percent, respectively, to 15,612.13 and 1,707.14. Like the retail index, the Nasdaq was up 0.1 percent, to 3,692.95 on strong gains from both Facebook and Apple. The strongest jump among fashion and beauty stocks came from Revlon Inc., up 6.8 percent to $26.16 following the firm’s $660 million acquisition of The Colomer Group and last week’s strong report on second-quarter earnings. The beauty firm hit a new 52-week high of $26.58 in midday trading. Substantial gains also came from Christopher & Banks Corp., up 3.7 percent to $7, and Perry Ellis International Inc., up 2.5 percent to $20.73. At the other end of the market, Fossil Group Inc. fell 6 percent to $107.42 following Barclays downgrading of the stock to “underweight” from “equal weight.” The company is scheduled to report second-quarter financial results Tuesday morning. Europe’s markets were little changed at the close of trading, with most indexes slightly down. The FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.4 percent to 6,619.58, despite data showing that services output grew more than forecast in July, Milan’s FTSE MIB slipped 0.2 percent to 16,753.19, Frankfurt’s DAX lost 0.1 percent to 8,398.38, while Paris’ CAC 40 was slightly up by 0.1 percent to 4,049.97. The pound traded at $1.51 against the dollar, the euro was worth $1.31 and the Swiss franc fetched $1.07. Retail and luxury stocks were mostly up, with the day’s strongest gainers including Yoox, up  6.5 percent to 24.50 euros; Asos, 4.3 percent to 49.86 pounds, and The Swatch Group, 1.6 percent to 99.85 Swiss francs. Among the stocks losing ground were Safilo, down 3.3percent to 14.28 euros; Marks & Spencer, 1.1 percent to 4.83 pounds, and Compagnie Financière Richemont, 0.9 percent to 92.15 Swiss francs.

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