Stocks slumped on Wall Street and in Europe today as the mood of investors fluctuated with the latest scrap of economic data.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group 0.8 percent, or 5.87 points, to 736.77, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.9 percent, or 138.19 points, to 14,618.59. Both indices have set new all-time highs over the past week.
It’s been a mixed week for the market, which fell sharply after Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon only to bounce back with an unexpected gain in March housing starts Tuesday. Today, stocks were weighed down in the U.S. by shares of Bank of America Corp., which fell 4.6 percent to $11.71 on a disappointing first-quarter earnings report, and Apple Inc., which declined 5.6 percent to $402.59.
Losing ground in the fashion industry were Sears Holdings Corp., 3.6 percent to $47.05; Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., 3.5 percent to $41.02; Fossil Inc., 3.2 percent to $92.10; Aéropostale Inc., 2.9 percent to $12.76, and American Eagle Outfitters, 2.9 percent to $18.86.
In Europe, stocks fell on word that unemployment in Britain climbed by 70,000 to 2.56 million between December and January, leaving the country with an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for world economic growth to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent six months ago. It lowered the U.K.’s forecast to 0.7 percent from the 1 percent forecast in January.
The organization also suggested that Britain’s Chancellor curb his controversial austerity measures in a bid to spur growth in the private sector and consumer demand.
The CAC 40 in Paris sank 2.4 percent to 3,599.23, as the DAX in Frankfurt fell 2.3 percent to 7,503.03, and the FTSE MIB in Milan and the FTSE 100 in London both declined 1 percent, to 15,383.76 and to 6,244.21, respectively.
The euro traded at $1.31 against the dollar, while the pound fetched $1.53 and the Swiss franc went for $1.08.
Retail and luxury stocks fell along with the markets, with the exception of Burberry, which reported an 11 percent rise in revenue in the fourth quarter.
Burberry shares closed up 1.8 percent at 12.89 pounds, or $19.74 pounds, after hitting a six-month high of 13.63 pounds earlier in the day.
Among the stocks that lost the most ground were Hugo Boss, down 2.4 percent to 85.50 euros; Carrefour, 2.5 percent to 20.62 euros; Inditex, 4.1 percent to 94.49 euros, and the Swatch Group, 2.8 percent to 89 Swiss francs.