Economic fears hit stock markets today, as investors continued to parse the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting and Spain received a tepid response to a debt sale.
The S&P Retail Index slipped 0.6 percent, or 3.96 points, to 620.53, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1 percent, or 124.80 points, to 13,074.75.
Among the decliners were Sears Holdings Corp., down 7.4 percent to $63.02; The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 6 percent to $8.54; Under Armour Inc., 3.7 percent to $94.45.
A lackluster Spanish bond offering led the interest rate on the country’s ten-year notes to rise to 5.69 percent, unsettling investors. This was added to the Federal Reserve’s indication Tuesday that it would not move to stimulate the economy.
Members of the Fed’s Open Market Committee, who set interest rate policies, also offered a mixed reading on consumer spending at their January meeting.
“Several participants observed that consumer spending had outpaced growth in personal disposable income last year, and a few noted that households remained pessimistic about their income prospects and uncertain about the economic outlook,” according to the meeting’s minutes.
In Europe, the DAX in Frankfurt fell the most, down 2.8 percent to 6,784.06, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris, down 2.7 percent to 3,313.47. The FTSE MIB in Milan dipped 2.4 percent to 15,245.92 while the FTSE 100 in London sank 2.3 percent to 5,703.77.
Financial and banking stocks were among the hardest hit, including Barclays and Man Group in London, along with Credit Agricole in Paris.
Almost all fashion luxury and retail stocks were down when the exchanges closed. Among the biggest decliners were Ferragamo, down 5.2 percent to 15.56 euros; Hugo Boss, 5.1 percent to 83.78 euros; Carrefour, 4 percent to 17.06 euros, and Marks & Spencer, tumbled 3.6 percent to 3.70 pounds.
Yoox bucked the trend, closing up 1 percent to 11.66 euros.
The euro traded for $1.33 Wednesday, while the pound traded for $1.59.