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Retail Stocks Down 1.3%

Chinese economy, Ukrainian crisis cast pall over equities.

U.S. retailers’ shares tumbled as investors appeared more wrapped up in anxiety over China and Ukraine than in improving results for domestic retail sales.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group logged its fourth consecutive day of declines — and by far the largest in the last week — with a 1.3 percent fall to 919.80. That fell in between the 1.2 percent drop in the S&P 500, to 1,846.34, and the 1.4 percent decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, to 16,108.89.

The day began on a hopeful note with retail sales for February rising 0.3 percent, more than anticipated. Apparel and accessories stores sales rose 0.4 percent and department stores gained 0.7 percent, despite a 0.3 percent decline from general merchandise retailers, the classification in which department stores are included.

Among the stocks weathering declines, PVH Corp. was down 5.7 percent to $115.04 while Stein Mart Inc., after reporting fourth-quarter profits that fell less than expected, saw shares drop 4.2 percent to $13.69. More than 40 of the fashion, retail and beauty issues tracked by WWD declined 1 percent or more.

Among just 13 of the stocks in WWD’s sample to advance for the day, Christopher & Banks Corp. registered the biggest increase, rising 8.3 percent to $6.69 after the retailer reported a smaller-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and said it anticipated improved first-quarter gross margins despite “relatively flat” same-store sales.

Inter Parfums Inc. racked up a 2.6 percent increase, to $33.85, after selling off on Wednesday following disclosure of a fourth-quarter loss.

Disappointing economic data from China and the tense situation in Ukraine affected European exchanges as well, with the impact hitting the DAX hardest. The German market fell 1.9 percent to 9,017.79 while the CAC 40 in Paris was off 1.3 percent to 4,250.51. The FTSE 100 in London was down 1 percent to 6,553.78 while the FTSE MIB in Milan suffered least, dipping 0.9 percent to 20,591.82.

Among a handful of retail and luxury stocks to gain were Mulberry Group, up 1.5 percent to 6.61 pounds; Gemfields, 1 percent to 37 pence, and Ted Baker, 0.7 percent to 21.77 pounds.

Shares of Hugo Boss fell 5.1 percent to 90 euros after it reported slower growth in 2013. Marks & Spencer Group was off 3.1 percent to 4.59 pounds; Safilo Group down 5.4 percent to 14.62 euros, and Koovs 6.3 percent lower at 2.10 pounds.

The euro traded at $1.39 against the U.S. dollar while the pound fetched $1.66 and the Swiss franc translated to $1.14.