Retail Stocks Fall as Market Rally Continues

Amazon.com slips on J.P. Morgan downgrade, weighs on sector.

Amazon.com slipped today, dragging down the retail sector as the Wall Street rally pressed on, driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average to another new high.

Amazon.com stock fell 3.4 percent to $265.70 after J.P. Morgan downgraded the stock, leading the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group down 0.7 percent, or 4.90 points, to 725.71. The Dow gained 0.6 percent, or 83.86 points, to 14,539.14—a new peak for blue chip stocks.

Among the fashion firms losing ground were J.C. Penney Co. Inc., down 1.7 percent to $15.39; Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc., 1.3 percent to $18.90, and Hanesbrands Inc., 1.2 percent to $41.18.

Bucking the trend was The Men’s Wearhouse Inc., shares of which shot up 19.1 percent to $34.62 after the company said it was looking offload its ailing K&G discount unit.

Wall Street’s been hitting new highs over the past two weeks. The economy continues to struggle, propped up by low interest rates, but there are some signs of strengthening in a falling unemployment rate and improvements in the housing market.

The optimism in U.S. markets helped buoy stocks in Europe.

The FTSE MIB in Milan rose 2.5 percent to 16,131.05 while the DAX in Frankfurt advanced 1.1 percent to 8,058.37. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.9 percent to 3,871.58 and the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.4 percent to 14,519.60.

The euro traded at $1.30 against the dollar, while the pound traded at $1.49 and the Swiss franc fetched $1.05.

Among the stocks gaining ground were Safilo Group, up 4.7 percent to 10.16 euros; Geox, 5.7 percent to 2.25 euros, and Marks & Spencer Group, 3.5 percent to 3.71 pounds.

Losing ground were Tod’s, which declined 1.3 percent to 111.50 euros, and Inditex, down 1.7 percent to 103.85 euros.

Hugo Boss fell 3.3 percent to 87.80 euros, after reporting an 8 percent rise in net income to 307 million euros, and a 14 percent spike in sales to 2.35 billion euros. The company said it expected sales growth to slow this year, and projected “high single-digit” increases in currency adjusted sales and EBITDA for 2013.