By and  on December 17, 2013

U.S. retail shares fell 0.5 percent today, a generally down day for global stock markets.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group slipped 4.35 points to 914.45 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell nearly 0.1 percent to 15,875.26.Among those seeing the biggest declines came from Tandy Brands Accessories Inc., down 4.8 percent to 20 cents; Delia’s Inc., 3.7 percent to 96 cents, and J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 3.3 percent decline to $8.20.

The gainers included American Apparel Inc., up 7.8 percent to $1.11; Coldwater Creek Inc., 3.8 percent to 82 cents; The Wet Seal Inc., 3.8 percent to $2.59, and Zale Corp., 3.4 percent to $14.94.

Investors are waiting for some clarity on when the Federal Reserve will began to cut back on its program to buy back $85 billion in bonds each month to support the economic recovery. The Fed's panel on monetary policy began a two-day meeting today and will update investors on Wednesday afternoon.

Stocks were also off in Europe, with the FTSE MIB in Milan leading the way.

The Italian market was down 1.6 percent to 17,925.21, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris, 1.2 percent to 4,068.64, and the DAX in Frankfurt, 0.9 percent to 9,085.12. The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.6 percent to 6,486.19.

The euro traded at $1.38 against the U.S. dollar while the pound fetched $1.63, the Swiss franc equaled $1.12 and the Swedish krona traded at $0.15.

Retail and luxury stocks were mostly down, with the exception of Kering, which advanced 1 percent to 150.65 euros, and Hennes & Mauritz, which was up 1.2 percent to 286.40 Swedish kronor.

Among the decliners were Debenhams, down 4.5 percent to 0.82 pounds; Aeffe, 2.1 percent to 0.61 euros; Ferragamo, 2.8 percent to 27.25 euros and French Connection, 4.9 percent to 0.34 pounds.

Moncler’s stock took a step back after its strong initial public offering Monday, closing down 5.5 percent to 14.15 euros. That's still marks a two-day gain of 38.7 percent.

In Asia, where the day’s trading sessions began, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.8 percent to 15,278.63 while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell 0.2 percent to 23,069.23.

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