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Retail Shares Drop as Dow, S&P Close at New Highs

S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group Slips 0.5 percent.

Retail stocks slipped today even as Wall Street’s major indices closed at new highs.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group fell 0.5 percent to 859.77 after beginning the week with a 1.9 percent advance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 eked out increases of 0.1 and 0.04 percent, respectively, to reach fresh all-time high closes of 16,715.44 and 1,897.45. The S&P was quoted at 1,902.17 in morning trading, its first taste of life above the 1,900 milestone.

The strongest gain among the retail, fashion and beauty stocks tracked by WWD came from Pacific Sunwear of California, shares of which rose 6 percent to $3. Shares of Blue Nile and Joe’s Jeans Inc. both rose 3.5 percent, to $30.97 and 94 cents, with Joe’s advance ending a five-day retreat that saw shares pull back from $1.05.

Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. ended the day up 1.4 percent, at $45.38, after rising as much as 4.5 percent in morning trading. International Strategy & Investment analyst Omar Saad suggested in a research note that the firm, best known for its leading position in the yoga category, might be the target of takeover interest from VF Corp.

Shares of Elizabeth Arden Inc. fell 22.8 percent to $27.50 after the company said it hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to assist its board in “exploring potential strategic alternatives” and reported a wider third-quarter loss. Shares of Cache Inc. fell at half that pace to land at $1.40.

In Europe, most major indices gained ground.

The DAX in Frankfurt led the rises, finishing up 0.5 percent to 9,754.43, followed by the FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris, which both gained 0.3 percent to 6,873.08 and 4,505.02, respectively. In Milan, the FTSE MIB, the strongest performer of the four so far in 2014, finished down, losing 1.1 percent to 21,255.99.

Fashion, luxury and retail stocks put in a more uneven performance.

Among those in decline were Safilo Group, which fell 2.3 percent to 16.35 euros; Mulberry, down 1.2 percent to 7.29 pounds, and Geox, down 1.3 percent to 3.09 euros.

Aeffe slipped 4.8 percent to 1.15 euros, after the Italian firm said its first-quarter revenues fell 7.3 percent at constant exchange rates to 67.6 million euros, or $93 million, compared to the previous year. However, net profit for the period rose 59.5 percent to 3.2 million euros, or $4.4 million, during the period, as the firm said its margins improved due to lower operating costs.

Stocks in the sector that moved ahead included Marks & Spencer, up 2.1 percent to 4.68 pounds; French Connection, which climbed 3.5 percent to 88 pence; Brunello Cucinelli, up 2 percent to 20.80 euros, and Kering, up 1.1 percent to 157.50 euros.
 
The pound traded for $1.69 against the U.S. dollar, while the euro changed hands for $1.38.