U.S. retail stocks fell for the third-straight day after a stronger-than-anticipated reading on the job market helped resurrect worries that the Federal Reserve would begin to pull back its support for the economy.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group declined 0.2 percent to 917.24 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also retreated 0.2 percent, to 15,889.77.
The ADP National Employment report showed that the nation added 215,000 private sector jobs last month — 40,000 more jobs than economists projected on average. The Ben S. Bernanke-led Fed has indicated that it will begin to pull back on bond purchases as employment improves. That would cause interest rates to rise and dampen the stock market.
Among the day’s decliners were Express Inc., down 23 percent to $19 after the retailer cut its earnings outlook for the year and said holiday promotions would be steeper than expected, and Sears Holding Corp., which fell 8.3 percent to $50.92 after chief executive officer Edward Lampert’s still-commanding stake in the company fell below 50 percent.
And investors remained skeptical about J.C. Penney Co. Inc., which fell 4.5 percent to $9.66 even though the company said November comparable-store sales rose 10.1 percent.
Markets were also slipping in Europe, with Frankfurt’s DAX leading the way.
The German market declined 0.9 percent to 9,140.63, followed by Paris’ CAC 40, which fell 0.6 percent to 4,148.52 and London’s FTSE 100, off 0.3 percent to 6,509.97 and Milan’s FTSE MIB, down 0.3 percent to 18,312.96.
The euro traded at $1.36, while the pound fetched $1.64, and the Swiss franc equaled $1.10.
Retail and luxury stocks were mixed, with the day’s biggest gainers including Mulberry Group, 3.5 percent to 10.25 pounds and Yoox.com, 1.9 percent to 30.57 euros. Among the stocks that lost the most ground were Brunello Cucinelli, down 2.5 percent to 25.36 euros, and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, off 1.6 percent to 132.35 euros.