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U.S. Retail Stocks Unbowed by Confidence Slump

European markets slump, Spain weakness continues.

Investors brushed off the worst reading on consumer confidence since November today, pushing retail stocks up 0.3 percent on Wall Street.

 

The S&P Retail Index perked up 2.10 points to 644.50, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.2 percent, or 21.68 points, to 13,102.99.

 

Fashion’s gainers were led by Movado Group Inc., which shot up 17.4 percent to $35.36 after the watchmaker beat second-quarter expectations and boosted its outlook for the year.

 

Also gaining were The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., up 7 percent to $9.50; PVH Corp., ahead 4.8 percent to $92.77 after a 29.3 percent jump in second-quarter earnings; Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc., 3.5 percent to $41.63; G-III Apparel Group, 3.5 percent to $31.56, and Under Armour Inc., 3.3 percent to $57.39. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell to 60.6 this month, down from 65.4 in July.

 

“A more pessimistic outlook was the primary reason for this month’s decline in confidence,” said Lynn Franco, the research group’s director of economic indicators. “Consumers were more apprehensive about business and employment prospects, but more optimistic about their financial prospects despite rising inflation expectations.”

 

In Europe, investors continued to be glum.

 

The CAC 40 in Paris lost the most ground, falling 0.9 percent to 3,431.55, followed by the DAX in Frankfurt, which closed down 0.6 percent to 7,002.68. The FTSE MIB in Milan fell 0.1 percent to 14,993.01, while the FTSE 100 in London finished down 0.02 percent to 5,775.71.

 

The declines came after Japan’s monthly economic report forecast the country’s economy would be affected by a “further slowing down of overseas economies and sharp fluctuations in the financial and capital markets [which are] under a high degree of uncertainty about the prospects of the European debt crisis.”

 

Added to this, Spain said its economy contracted by 0.4 percent in the three months to June, compared with the previous quarter, and 1.3 percent compared with the same period last year. By the time Europe’s stock markets closed, the Spanish region of Catalonia had asked Spain’s central government for a 5 billion euro, or $6.26 billion, bailout, further damaging investor sentiment in the region.

 

Among the fashion companies suffering declines were Safilo Group, down 2.9 percent to 6.11 euros; Mulberry, 2.6 percent to 13.74 euros; Marks & Spencer, 2.4 percent to 3.62 pounds, and Asos.com, 4 percent to 17.25 pounds.

 

The euro traded for $1.25 Tuesday, while the pound traded for $1.58.