U.S. Retail Stocks Flat, Europe Up on Hopes for Aid

Urban Outfitters shines after strong second-quarter report.

U.S. retail stocks missed the worst of Wall Street’s declines today.


The S&P Retail Index dipped 0.1 percent, or 0.33 points, to 638.99, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell a steeper 0.5 percent, or 68.06 points, to 13,203.58. The Dow is about 140 points away from its 52-week high and has been gaining strongly in recent weeks.


The decliners included Coach Inc., down 2.3 percent to $54.83; Limited Brands Inc., 2.3 percent to $48.05, and Sears Holdings Corporation, 1.6 percent to $56.39. Shining the brightest in the retail sector was Urban Outfitters Inc., which shot up 18.2 percent to $36.98 after the company handily beat second-quarter earnings expectations.


In Europe, investors were betting that aid was on the way. Major indices across the region rose on continued speculation that the European Central Bank will act to cap Spain’s and Italy’s borrowing costs.


Even though the central bank distanced itself from those reports Monday, markets were buoyed by the prospect of ECB action on Europe’s debt.


The FTSE MIB in Milan rose 2.4 percent to 15,330.46, while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.9 percent to 3,513.28. The DAX in Frankfurt closed up 0.8 percent to 7,089.32 and the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6 percent to 5,857.52.


Banking and mining stocks continued to lead the gains, with Vedanta Resources and Anglo American among the top performers in London and Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG rising the most in Frankfurt.


The majority of fashion, luxury and retail stocks had a positive day. Those that gained the most included Inditex, up 3.8 percent to 89.47 euros; Aeffe, 3.3 percent to 0.53 euros; Ferragamo 2.6 percent to 17.42 euros, and Mulberry, 2.7 percent to 14.38 pounds.


The few fashion stocks that fell included Hennes & Mauritz, down 0.6 percent to 247.90 Swedish krona, and Swatch Group, which fell 1.4 percent to 70 Swiss francs.


The euro traded for $1.23 Tuesday, while the pound traded for $1.57. The Swedish krona went for 15 cents and the Swiss franc for $1.03.