The political dynamic in Europe continued to fixate investors, who pushed stocks down today.
The U.S.-centric S&P Retail Index fell 0.5 percent, or 2.83 points, to 626.61, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell for the sixth-straight day, dropping 0.8 percent, or 97.03 points, to 12,835.06.
Macy's Inc. dropped 3.7 percent to $38.05 when its disappointed investors by not raising its annual profit guidance after a strong first quarter. Other decliners included Vera Bradley Inc., down 1.8 percent to $24.49; Coach Inc., 1.7percent to $69.58; Tumi Holdings Inc., 1.8 percent to $22.49, and Ralph Lauren Corp., 1.5 percent to $160.94.
It remains unclear how the French president-elect Francois Hollande and his anti-austerity, pro-growth platform will play with the austerity-loving Germans, and whether Greece will remain in the euro zone.
Greeks will likely be called to the polls once again since elections over the weekend were inconclusive. The country has voiced its opposition to more austerity measures, and leaders have threatened to renege on the belt-tightening promises made to secure bailout funds and keep the country afloat.
Except for the DAX in Frankfurt, which climbed 0.5 percent to 6,475.31, European markets sank for the day. The German market benefited from a 0.9 percent rise in March exports, the third in three months, thanks mainly to non-European Union countries, according to Germany’s Federal Statistics Office.
The FTSE MIB in Milan led the market slide, falling 1.2 percent to 13,771.82, while the FTSE 100 in London sank 0.4 percent to 5,530.05 and the CAC 40 retreated 0.2 percent to 3,118.65.
The day’s biggest gainers included Asos.com, which climbed 2.1 percent to 14.75 pounds; Beiersdorf, 1.3 percent to 52.27 euros; Mulberry Group, 2.1 percent to 23.02 pounds, and Hermès International, 1.2 percent to 268.80 euros.
Among the stocks that lost groundwere Brunello Cucinelli, which sank 3.5 percent to 10.65 euros; Geox, 1.8 percent to 2.28 euros, and Ferragamo, 1.6 percent to 16.75 euros.
The euro traded at $1.30 while the pound traded at $1.61.