Wall Street investors sold off retail stocks today, pushing the S&P Retail Index down 0.4 percent on a modestly up day for the market.
The retail index fell 2.48 points to 623.76 as trading settled and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 percent, or 42.76 points, to 13,207.95 as the market skirted economic fears that weighed on European markets.
The U.S. stock decliners included American Eagle Outfitters Inc., down 2.5 percent to $20.93; True Religion Apparel Inc., 2 percent to $21.97; Oxford Industries Inc., 1.6 percent to $47.48, and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., 1.6 percent to $42.32.
One notable exception to the trend was J.C. Penney Co. Inc., which rose 5.9 percent to $23.40 even though the company posted a second-quarter loss of $147 million with a 22.6 percent sales decline. European stocks were dented by downbeat data from China and fears that Germany—the growth engine in the flagging euro zone economy—is set to stall.
In China, export and import growth slowed sharply in July, according to the country’s General Administration of Customs. Exports rose by 1 percent year-on-year and compared with growth of 11.3 percent in June. Imports rose by 4.7 percent, compared with an increase of 6.3 percent in June, indicating a slowdown in domestic demand.
And fears surrounding the German economy are increasing. On Friday, Reuters quoted Joerg Kraemer, chief economist at Commerzbank, as saying that the country’s economy is losing momentum. “In the third quarter the economy will shrink compared to the second quarter,” Kraemer said. “Things will go downhill from here. The German economy is not faring as badly as the rest of the euro zone but it can’t disconnect itself, especially as growth in China has slowed and continues to do so.”
Milan’s FTSE MIB sank 0.7 percent to 14,548.64, followed by Paris’ CAC 40, which was down 0.6 percent to 3,435.62. Frankfurt’s DAX fell 0.3 percent to 6,944.56 and London’s FTSE 100 edged down 0.1 percent to 5,847.11.
The day’s biggest gainers including Geox, up 3.6 percent to 1.88 euros; Unilever, 6.3 percent to 29.99 euros, and Safilo Group, 2.9 percent to 5.86 euros.
Losing ground were L’Oreal, off 1.9 percent to 100.55 euros; Hermès International, 4.3 percent to 222.40 euros, and French Connection, down 5.8 percent to 20.25 euros.
The euro traded at $1.23 while the pound traded at $1.56.