Gathering fears of a recession in Europe hit markets in the region today, while stocks on Wall Street generally gained ground.

Milan’s FTSE MIB tumbled 1.5 percent to 16,312.30, as Frankfurt’s DAX edged down 0.5 percent to 6,809.46 and Paris’ CAC 40 was nearly flat at 3,447.31. The FSTE 100 in London was the only market that rose, inching upward 0.4 percent to 5,937.89.

The European Commission said the Euro zone economy would likely contract by 0.3 percent this year, with the biggest GDP decrease coming from Greece. The country’s economy is set to shrink 4.4 percent this year.

Among the stocks that lost the most ground were Geox, which was down 1.4 percent to 2.69 euros; Asos.com, which tumbled 2 percent to 18.70 pounds, and Arcandor, which fell 5.9 percent to 0.05 euros.

The gainers included Hugo Boss, which rose 2.5 percent to 71.85 euros; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which climbed 1.1 percent to 127.50 euros, and Marcolin, which rose 1.2 percent to 3.86 euros.

The euro traded at $1.33, while the pound traded at $1.57.

On Wall Street, the S&P Retail Index rose 0.5 percent, or 2.64 points, to 571.71, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.4 percent, or 46.02, to 12,984.69.

Among the retailers gaining the most ground were Sears Holdings Corp., which rose 18.7 percent to $61.80 after the firm posted steep losses, but said it would sell off some stores, and Dillard’s Inc., which increased 10.8 percent to $57.83 on stronger fourth-quarter profits.

U.S. markets were aided by fewer-than-expected initial jobless claims last week. According to the Labor Department, first-time claims were unchanged versus the preceding week at 351,000. Economists expected and uptick to 355,000.

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