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Retail Stocks Start Week on Down Note

Retailers including Coldwater Creek and Abercrombie & Fitch hit hard on continuing earning, outlook fears.

Specialty stores sustained the worst damage as retail stocks took another beating Monday, their fifth day of decline in the last six sessions.

The Standard & Poor’s Retail Index closed at 239.98, off 6.6 points, or 2.7 percent. The drop was slightly greater than the major indices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 223.73 points, or 2.6 percent, and the S&P 500 was down 22.54 points, also 2.6 percent, to 850.75.

The continuing wave of lower third-quarter results, and reduced fourth-quarter expectations among retailers, contributed to the downward motion, which followed Target Corp.’s disclosure of a 23.8 percent decline in third-quarter profits. Citigroup’s announcement of 52,000 job cuts and an analyst downgrade of Alcoa Inc. also pushed equities toward the red.

Of the dozen worst performing stocks tracked daily by WWD, four were specialty stores, with the biggest decline from Coldwater Creek Inc., down 18.5 percent to $1.28. Charming Shoppes Inc., Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. took hits of 16.5, 14 and 13.4 percent, respectively.

European markets closed lower. In Paris, the CAC 40 was off 109.44 points, or 3.3 percent, to 3,182.03. In London, the FTSE 100 closed off 100.81 points, or 2.4 percent, at 4,132.16. In Milan, shares of Safilo Group SpA lost almost 30 percent of their value, falling 0.23 euros to 0.55 euros, or 69 cents at current exchange, after Friday’s report of lower earnings and sales in the first nine months of the year. IT Holding SpA’s stock was down 9.7 percent to 0.20 euros, or 25 cents, but, in Frankfurt, Escada AG was up 15.3 percent to 4.61 euros, or $5.81.

Results in Asia were mixed, with Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 advancing 60.19 points, or 0.7 percent, to 8,522.58, and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong retreating 13.13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 13,529.53.