By and  on July 8, 2014

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group ended a four-session string of closes above the 900 level as the index fell 1.3 percent to 894.89.

The index began the year at 939.81 but first fell below 900 on Jan. 24. Overall this year, it has closed above that mark on just 43 of the year’s 129 trading days. It closed at 902.28 a week ago and had closed above 900 at the end of the three trading sessions since then before today.

The broader U.S. market and major European exchanges were in retreat as well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both surrendered 0.7 percent of their values, closing at 16,906.62 and 1,963.71, respectively. The Dow’s decline ended two consecutive days of closes above the 17,000 level.

Declining issues outnumbered gainers by better than a four-to-one margin, with Cache Inc. shares leading the losses among fashion, retail and beauty stocks tracked by WWD with an 8.3 percent decline to $1.55, followed by an 8 percent sell-off at The Wet Seal Inc., which fell to 91 cents. American Apparel Inc. dipped 5.1 percent to 84 cents as negotiations among its board, lenders and parties affiliated with ousted chief executive Dov Charney continued.

On the positive side, Guess Inc. rallied 3.9 percent to close at $28.45, its highest close since April 4, after Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy upgraded shares to “overweight” from “neutral,” and raised her price target to $32 from $25, based on signs of improving conditions in European markets.

Also on the rise were Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and The TJX Cos. Inc., which both rose 0.8 percent to $76.65 and $53.85, respectively, and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Stein Mart Inc., both up 0.6 percent to respective marks of $11.20 and $14.

In Europe, shares generally moved down on signs that the German economy was slowing down after industrial output was reported to have declined 1.8 percent in May with exports off 1.1 percent and imports down 3.4 percent.

The FTSE MIB in Milan sank 2.7 percent to 20,700.53, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris and the DAX in Frankfurt, both of which were down 1.4 percent to 4,342.53 and 9,772.67 respectively. The FTSE 100 in London fell 1.3 percent to 6,738.45.

Retail and luxury stocks were down, with the day’s biggest descents coming from companies including Yoox Group, 5.4 percent to 18.54 euros; Unilever, 4.1 percent to 31.01 euros; French Connection, 3.6 percent to 2.70 pounds;, 3.6 percent to 30.30 pounds, and, 3.4 percent to 42 pence.

The euro traded at $1.36 against the U.S. dollar, while the pound fetched $1.71, and the Swiss franc equaled $1.12.

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