Stocks gave back some recent gains today, with retail shares ending a string of six consecutive days of advances.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was off 0.4 percent to 888.66 for its first decline since Feb. 3. The major indices weathered smaller descents as the Dow Jones Industrial Average surrendered 0.2 percent to end the day at 15,963.94 and the S&P 500 fell less than 0.1 percent to 1,819.26.
After clearing the House of Representatives on Tuesday, a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling cleared the Senate Wednesday by a 55-43 vote. That clears the way for President Obama’s signature and avoids another episode of Congressional gridlock such as the one that led to last October’s government shutdown.
Among those gaining traction during the session were watchmakers Movado Group Inc., up 6.5 percent to $41, and Fossil Group Inc., up 3.5 percent to $121.06. Fossil late Tuesday reported fourth-quarter profits well in excess of those expected by analysts and also forecast strong top-line growth in the year ahead.
Also advancing was Citi Trends Inc., which reported reductions in markdowns and inventory at the close of the fourth quarter despite declines in sales during the period. Shares rose 4.6 percent to $16.08.
The steepest decline among fashion, retail and beauty stocks tracked by WWD came from Joe’s Jeans Inc., with shares down 4.6 percent to $1.26 in advance of its fourth-quarter financial report late Thursday. Shares of Amazon.com Inc. fell 3.5 percent to $349.25 while Aérospotale Inc.’s shed 3.3 percent to close at $6.44.
European stock markets made gains at the close of trading on Wednesday, led by the FTSE MIB in Milan, which was up 1.3 percent to 20,144.96.
The DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.7 percent to 9,540.00, while the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.5 percent to 4,305.50, and the FTSE 100 in London rose just 0.04 percent to 6,675.03.
Retail and luxury stocks put on a mixed show, with the day’s biggest gainers including Yoox.com, 2.1 percent to 30.99 euros; Moncler, 2.3 percent to 14.19 euros; Metro AG, 2.5 percent to 31.73 euros; Bonmarché Holding, 4.1 percent to 2.95 pounds, and Italia Independent, 4.1 percent to 37.50 euros.
Among the stocks that lost the most ground were Kering, 1.2 percent to 154.10 euros; L’Oréal, 1.4 percent to 123.05 euros, and French Connection Group, 1.6 percent to 0.46 pounds.
The euro traded at $1.37 against the U.S. dollar while the pound fetched $1.64 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.12.