By  on February 9, 2010

Retail stocks dipped 0.2 percent Monday after getting caught in the market’s general downdraft as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed below 10,000 for the first time since November.

The S&P Retail Index, which rose as much as 1.3 percent in early trading, slid 0.57 points to 392.27. The Dow lost 1 percent, or 103.84 points, to 9,908.39. The S&P 500 dipped 0.01 points to 1,066.18 and the Nasdaq fell 0.7 percent, or 15.07 points, to 2,126.05.

Investors were skittish over the indebtedness of European governments and whether those woes could have a ripple effect on the economic recovery.

The latest declines came after a 1.2 percent drop last week in the S&P Retail Index and a 0.5 percent decline in the Dow. U.S. markets have fallen four consecutive weeks.

In Europe, investors found their footing after last week’s debt-driven declines and advanced the CAC 40 by 1.2 percent to 3,607.27 in Paris and the FTSE 100 up 0.6 percent to 5,092.33 in London.

Asian investors pushed down the Nikkei 225 by 1.1 percent to 9,951.82 in Tokyo, the Hang Seng Index slid 0.6 percent to 19,550.89 in Hong Kong and the SSE Composite Index fell 0.1 percent to 2,935.17 in Shanghai.

China’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund disclosed investments in more than 80 U.S. companies, including stakes in American Eagle Outfitters Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by Beijing-based China Investment Corp. Friday, the country held 200,000 shares of specialty mainstay American Eagle and 145,000 shares of skin care giant J&J at the end of last year.

Shares of American Eagle inched up 0.6 percent to $15.74 on Monday, as J&J fell 0.4 percent to $62.37.

China’s other holdings included Apple Inc., investment firm Blackrock Inc., which has stakes in numerous fashion firms, and Coca Cola Co. In total, the country reported $9.62 billion in U.S. holdings. China also holds about $800 billion in U.S. treasury debt.

Former Merrill Lynch chairman and chief executive officer John Thain, 54, took the helm at CIT Group Inc. as chairman and ceo. Peter Tobin had been interim ceo since Jeffery Peek stepped down last month. CIT, which exited bankruptcy proceedings in December, also said it would prepay $750 million of its $7.5 billion first lien credit facility today.

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