The lack of U.S. job growth and continued concerns about the financial sector pushed investors on Wall Street and in Europe into a funk Friday.
The S&P Retail Index, which tracks selected U.S. chains, fell 2.5 percent, or 12.49 points, to 496.67. Retail decliners included Sears Holdings Corp., down 6.9 percent to $54.52; Guess Inc., 5 percent to $30.87; American Eagle Outfitters Inc., 4.2 percent to $10.44, and Coach Inc., 3.9 percent to $53.21.
The day started off with word from the Labor Department that payrolls failed to grow last month, making for the worse showing since last September, when employment contracted. Economists projected the nation would create 93,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.1 percent.
Weakness on the employment front mixed with renewed fears surrounding the banking sector, leading to a sell-off on both sides of the Atlantic.
Investors are still anxiously awaiting signs that European nations have their debt troubles in check and are righting their balance sheets. On Thursday, Confindustria, the confederation of Italian industry, described Italy’s austerity package, which is currently working its way through parliament, as “weak and inadequate.”
Major European luxury and fashion stocks fell in line with the markets. The day’s biggest decliners included Richemont, which fell 5.4 percent; Hugo Boss, which was down 5.1 percent, and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which dropped 4.1 percent.
The FTSE 100 closed down 2.3 percent in London as the CAC 40 fell 3.6 percent in Paris, the DAX slid 3.4 percent in Frankfurt and Milan’s FTSE MIB declined 3.9 percent.
The global rout began in Asia, where the Hang Seng Index declined 1.8 percent in Hong Kong and the Nikkei 225 slipped 1.2 percent in Tokyo.
Markets are closed in New York Monday for the Labor Day holiday.
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