The slide in U.S. retail stocks moderated Wednesday, with the sector declining just 0.3 percent, while world markets continued to get hammered by concerns that the troubles of the debt-strapped Greece would spread.
The S&P Retail Index fell 1.56 points to 467.64, adding to the sector’s 2.9 percent slide Tuesday, which ranked as the second steepest decline this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average moved further from the 11,000 mark, falling 0.5 percent, or 58.65 points to 10,868.12.
Among the retailers on the decline were AnnTaylor Stores Corp., off 2.2 percent to $24.21, and Tiffany & Co., 1.4 percent to $47.39. Shares of Guess Inc. fell 4.9 percent to $41.68 on the first day of trading after the firm said Carlos Alberini stepped down as president and chief operating officer to become co-chief executive officer of Restoration Hardware.
Greece appeared to get a bit of breathing room last weekend when European leaders agreed to extend the debt-laden country a bailout package worth 110 billion euros, or $146 billion.
But the package has yet to be approved and associated austerity measures to be made by Greece sparked deadly demonstrations. Three people were reported to have died in a bank that caught fire near the Athens protests.
Shares in the Athex Composite Index fell 3.9 percent to 1,662.10 in Athens, as the CAC 40 dropped 1.4 percent to 3,636.03 in Paris and the FTSE 100 declined 1.3 percent to 5,341.93 in London.
In its spring economic forecast, Europe’s executive body, the European Commission, raised its projection for the European Union’s economic growth this year to 1 percent from 0.75 percent.
“The improved outlook for economic growth this year is good news for Europe,” said Olli Rehn, the EU’s commissioner for economic and monetary affairs. “We must now ensure that growth will not be derailed by risks related to financial stability. Sustainable growth calls for determined fiscal consolidation efforts and reforms that enhance productivity and employment.”