Retail Stocks Fall 1.9%

Kohl’s, Michael Kors, Coach post declines.

Retail stocks were hit hard again today, falling 1.9 percent after Kohl’s Corp. issued a weaker than expected outlook.

The S&P 500 Retailing  Industry Group declined 1.9 percent, or 12.08 points, to 637.07, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.9 percent, or 121.41 points, to 12,811.32.

Kohl’s was the weakest stock in the retail index, declining 5.1 percent to $51.55. The moderate chain projected fourth-quarter earnings of $2 to $2.08 a share, below the $2.16 Wall Street expected.

But Kohl’s wasn’t the hardest hit of the fashion stocks.

Shares of Michael Kors Holdings fell 7.2 percent to $50.70, and Coach Inc., declined 5.3 percent to $53.91.
Investors surveying the landscape after the presidential election this week are still grappling with the impact of the looming fiscal cliff, which threatens to throw the economy back into recession by automatically raising taxes and cutting spending.

In Europe stock markets edged down.

Both the Bank of England and European Central Bank decided today to keep their interest rates on ice, at 0.5 percent and  0.75 percent, respectively. The Bank of England has also halted its program to pump more money into the economy, known as quantitative easing, at least for the moment.

Earlier this week, the European Commission cut its 2013 euro zone growth forecast from 1 percent to 0.1 percent, and said it expected unemployment to continue rising next year.

The FTSE MIB in Milan led the way down, falling 0.6 percent to 15,194.08, followed by the DAX in Frankfurt, which sank 0.4 percent to 7,204.96. The FTSE 100 in London was down 0.3 percent to 5,776.05 while the CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent to 3,407.68.

Retail and luxury stocks were mixed, with the day’s biggest gainers including Hermès International, which was up 2 percent to 223.60 euros; Compagnie Financière Richemont, up 1.2 percent to 64.30 Swiss francs ahead of its interim trading statement on Friday; and Burberry Group, ahead 1.3 percent to 12.14 pounds.

Among the stocks losing ground were Brunello Cucinelli, down 1.1 percent to 13.70 euros; Geox, 3.1 percent to 2.14 euros, and Metro AG, 2 percent to 21.32 euros, and Safilo Group, 1.5 percent to 6.42 euros.

The euro traded at $1.28 versus the dollar while the pound traded at $1.60 and the Swiss franc traded at $1.06.