Retail shares struggled to lock in advances throughout the day Monday and ended trading just slightly below their starting point.
The S&P Retail Index was down less than 0.1 percent, closing the session at 228.76. While retail stocks spent nearly the entire day in positive territory before dipping into the red, the major indices, battered by uncertainty about financial stocks and federal economic policy that wasn’t eased by Merck & Co. Inc.’s agreement to buy Schering-Plough Corp., weaved back and forth between gains and losses before ending the day on the down side. By the time the closing bell sounded, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 1.2 percent at 6,547.05, the S&P 500 down 1 percent at 676.53 and the Nasdaq Composite 2 percent lower at 1,268.64.
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