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Retail Stocks Down After Steinhafel Ouster

Target stock drops 3.5 percent as embattled CEO departs discounter.

Retail stocks trended downward, with Target Corp. weathering among the sharpest declines as Gregg Steinhafel’s tenure as chairman, president and chief executive officer came to a close early Monday.

With anxiety about corporate earnings in the U.S., the manufacturing sector in China and escalating tensions, the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group slipped 0.4 percent to 862.48, ending a four-session winning streak.

The major indices did better, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.1 percent to 16,530.55 and the S&P 500 ahead 0.2 percent to 1,884.66.

Following the news of Steinhafel’s dismissal prior to the opening bell, Target’s shares slipped in early trading and didn’t rebound, ending the day at $59.87, down $2.14 or 3.5 percent. They have slowly recovered from the damage done by disclosures of a massive data breach since hitting a 52-week low of $54.66 in midday trading on Feb. 4.

Shares of The Bon-Ton Stores also were off 3.5 percent, to $11.19, while Sears Holdings Corp. saw its stock give back 3.1 percent to close at $42.67.

Teen retailer Zumiez Inc. led the leaders among the sample of fashion, retail and beauty stocks monitored by WWD, rising 4.1 percent to $25.66 after being upgraded to “overweight” from “neutral” by Piper Jaffray, which raised its price target on the stock to $30 from $27. Zumiez will be among a handful of retailers reporting comparable sales results for April this Thursday.

Shares of Quiksilver Inc. rose 2.1 percent to $6.78 while Destination Maternity Corp. and Joe’s Jeans Inc. both rose 1.9 percent on the day, to $25.29 and $1.05, respectively.

With markets in London closed, the CAC 40 in Paris was the only one of the major indices to post a gain, rising 0.1 percent to 4,462.69. The FTSE MIB in Milan lost 0.6 percent to 21,639.96 and Frankfurt’s DAX shed 0.3 percent to end the day at 9,529.50.

Issues on the rise included French Connection, 10 percent to 88 pence, and Mulberry Group, 0.7 percent to 7.30 pounds. Aeffe gained 12.5 percent to 1.30 euros amid ongoing reports that it might be a target for private equity funds.       
 
Equities in decline included Gemfields, down 5 percent to 38 pence; Luxottica, off 1 percent to 50.51 euros, and Compagnie Financière Richemont, which surrendered 0.6 percent to 87.45 Swiss francs.
 
The euro traded for $1.38 against the U.S. dollar while the Swiss franc changed hands at $1.13.