European markets gained on hopes that ailing governments in Spain and Italy would get more support, but Wall Street took a cautious approach.
The U.S.-centric S&P Retail Index decreased 0.3 percent, or 1.90 points, to 629.08 as trading settled and the Dow Jones Industrial slipped 13.74 points to 13,061.92.
Among the decliners were Abercrombie & Fitch Co., down 3.7 percent to $35.39; Sears Holdings Corp., 3.7 percent to $49.96; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., down 3.5 percent to $22.19; Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc., 3.4 percent to $11.31; Tumi Holdings Inc., 3.3 percent to $17.76, and Coach Inc., 2.5 percent to $60.58.
In Europe, investors were keeping their fingers crossed that the European Central Bank, led by president Mario Draghi, would help the region’s governments.
Last week, Draghi said the bank stands “ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro.”
Investors are watching to see if the central bank decides to help indebted governments lower borrowing costs by buying their bonds.
The FTSE MIB in Milan was up 2.8 percent to 13,978.04, followed by the DAX in Frankfurt, which climbed 1.3 percent to 6,774.06. The CAC 40 in Paris was up 1.2 percent to 3,320.71 while the FTSE 100 in London advanced 1.2 percent to 5,693.63.
Retail and luxury stocks were also on the rise, with the day’s biggest gainers including Carrefour, up 3.7 percent to 14.72 euros; Brunello Cucinelli, 2.1 percent to 11.08 euros, and Metro, 3.8 percent to 21.78 euros. Among the few stocks that fell were Mulberry Group, which declined 1.6 percent to 14.20 pounds.
The euro traded at $1.23 while the pound traded at $1.57.