U.S. retailers bucked the market today and gained ground.
The S&P Retail Index rose 0.4 percent, or 2.15 points, to 625.07, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.6 percent, or 82.79 points, to 13,032.75. Blue chip stocks were weighed down by International Business Machines and Intel, which on Tuesday showed signs of weakness in first-quarter results.
The retail and fashion gainers included Gap Inc., up 2.2 percent to $27.62; Aéropostale Inc., 2.2 percent to $21.81; Fossil Inc., 2 percent to $132.65, American Eagle Outfitters, 2 percent to $17.71, and Oxford Industries Inc., 1.2 percent to $45.81.
European investors continued to wrestle with economic concerns.
The FTSE MIB in Milan slipped 2.4 percent to 14,580.15, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris, down 1.6 percent to 3,240.29. The DAX in Frankfurt dropped 1 percent to 6,732.03, while the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.4 percent to 5,745.29.
Investors were jittery ahead of a Spanish debt auction on Thursday and banking stocks were among the region’s biggest decliners, including Societe Generale and Credit Agricole in Paris and Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt.
Fashion, luxury and retail didn’t fare much better. Those in retreat included PPR, which slumped 3.9 percent to 122.45 euros; Carrefour, 2.1 percent to 15.77 euros; Inditex, 2.9 percent to 69.32 euros, and Ferragamo, 2.5 percent to 15.50 euros. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton fell 3.3 percent to 126.20 euros, even as the firm reported a first-quarter sales rise of 25 percent today. The few risers included Mulberry, up 3.1 percent to 22.10 pounds; Hermès, 1.4 percent to 253.80 euros, and Asos.com, 0.2 percent to 15.97 pounds.
The pound traded for $1.59 Wednesday, while the euro traded for $1.31.