By  on January 14, 2008

Shares of retailers took a beating on Friday, after consumer confidence fell to an all-time low as reported by research firm RBC, and American Express Co. warned delinquent credit card payments could hurt profits.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid more than 300 points before rebounding to close down 1.9 percent to 12,606.30. The broader S&P 500 fell 1.4 percent to 1,401.02, while the S&P Retail Index was mangled, dropping 3.2 percent to close at 366.39.

Talbot's Inc. topped New York Stock Exchange's list of biggest decliners, plummeting 13.3 percent to $6.96 on concerns that its turnaround is poorly timed against current market conditions.

Tiffany & Co. also appeared on the list after reporting disappointing holiday same-store sales and slashing earnings guidance. Shares of the jewelry retailer plunging 11.2 percent to $35.08.

Coming off a stellar comp report on Thursday, teen retailer Aèropostale Inc. saw shares fall 6.2 percent to $24.49, while competitors Hot Topic and Pacific Sunwear of California sank 5.6 and 10.2 percent, respectively — all on worries that consumers will pull back spending.

While Macy's, Sear Holdings Corp., Saks and Nordstrom all saw declines greater than 4 percent, J.C. Penney was a bright spot in the department store sector, ending the day up 0.8 percent to $37.86. Investors viewed J.C. Penney as in a better market position than its competitors.

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