U.S. retail stocks took a step back Wednesday after six consecutive positive trading days as uncertainty about the Federal Reserve’s plans continued to weigh on the overall market.
The S&P Retailing Industry Group was off 1.3 percent to 836.47, ending a run of six sessions in which it had risen to record levels. In the broader market, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 logged their third consecutive day of declines, dropping 0.3 and 0.4 percent, respectively, to 15,470.67 and 1,690.91 as investors worried about the timing and scope of reductions in the Fed’s stimulus program.
Among retail, apparel and beauty stocks tracked by WWD, the biggest decline came from Ralph Lauren Corp., with shares off 8.6 percent, to $173.13, after the New York-based firm reported a 6.2 percent drop in net income.
Shares of J.C. Penney Co. finished the day down 3.6 percent, to $12.80, after rumors swirled that chief financial officer Ken Hannah would step down. The company described the reports as “completely false.”
Among a handful of gainers in the fashion world, Tumi Holdings Inc. and The Wet Seal Inc. logged the biggest advances, with shares up 3 and 1.2 percent, respectively, to $25.44 and $4.29.
European stock markets put on a mixed show at the close of trading on Wednesday, with the FTSE 100 in London losing the most ground.
The British market was down 1.4 percent to 6,511.21, followed by the DAX in Frankfurt, which fell 0.5 percent to 8,260.48. The FTSE MIB in Milan, meanwhile, was up 0.9 percent to 16,837.95 while the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.2 percent to 4,038.49.
The euro traded at $1.33 against the dollar, while the pound fetched $1.54, and the Swiss franc equaled $1.08.
Retail and luxury stocks were mostly down, with a few exceptions. Among the stocks that gained ground were Metro AG, up 1.1 percent to 28.01 euros; Brunello Cucinelli, 1.7 percent to 20.85 euros; and Aeffe, 1.2 percent to 0.56 euros.
Among the stocks that lost the most ground were Beiersdorf, down 3.2 percent to 68.23 euros;Geox, 1.8 percent to 1.98 euros; Unilever, 2.2 percent to 29.59 euros; and Yoox.com, 2 percent to 25.11 euros.