Wall Street tumbled on Wednesday amid more fears about the financial sector and rising oil prices, and retail stocks bore a major share of the damage.
The Standard & Poor's Retail Index, down more than 2 percent for most of the day, ended the session with a 1.9 percent decline to 385.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell below 12,000 for the first time since March during trading before recovering to close down 1.1 percent to 12,029.06. The S&P 500 dropped 1 percent to 1,337.81.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was among the most active stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, falling 1.7 percent to $57.67 as more than 22 million shares changed hands. Rival Target Corp. dipped 3.1 percent to end the day at $50.85.
The department store sector saw some of the biggest declines. Macy's Inc. dropped 4.7 percent to close at $21.02, J.C. Penney Corp. sank 5 percent to $36.72, Sears Holdings Corp. decreased 2.5 percent to $77.91 and Kohls Corp. lost 2.8 percent to $43.46.
High-end retailers also took a hit. Saks Inc. declined 2.4 percent to $12.20, while Nordstrom Inc. fell 2.9 percent to $33.95.
Action sports retail Zumiez Inc. plunged 7.1 percent to $20.56, teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. declined 2.3 percent to $67.91 and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. gave up 4.1 percent to end the day at $16.20. Gap Inc. was down 2.8 percent to $17.49 and Limited Brands Inc. slid 1.6 percent to $18.58.
One of the few retailers to see gains was The Children's Place, which increased 1.4 percent to $37.59. Another exception was Wet Seal Inc., which rose 1.2 percent to close at $4.96.
Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. slid 2 percent to $64.75, Liz Claiborne Inc. fell 1.5 percent to $16.10 and Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. lost 3.2 percent to $40.65. Warnaco Group Inc. gave back 2.4 percent to close at $47.44 and VF Corp. receded 1.7 percent to $72.11.
Quiksilver Inc. managed a 2.8 percent increase to close at $9.65, but Under Armour surrendered 5.2 percent, ending the day at $30.51.
Investors pulled back after FedEx Corp. warned that earnings would fall short of expectations and Morgan Stanley posted a 51 percent plunge in second-quarter earnings.
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