Shares of Macy’s Inc. fell 1.8 percent to $38.30, following the general downward trading pattern Wednesday on the Big Board, even though the retailer said earlier in the day that comparable-store sales in May rose 4.2 percent.

This story first appeared in the May 31, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The majority of retailers will report comparable-store sales results today for the four weeks ended May 26.

Macy’s said total sales for May rose 4.1 percent to $2.02 billion from $1.94 billion in the comparable year-ago period.

Also on Wednesday, apparel and accessories retailer Tilly’s Inc. saw its shares fall 8.5 percent to $15.68 in over-the-counter trading. The specialty teen retailer said in its first quarterly earnings report since going public on May 3 that first-quarter net income for the period ended April 28 rose 21.7 percent to $5.9 million, or 29 cents a diluted share, from $4.9 million, or 24 cents, a year ago. Net sales rose 16.1 percent to $96.5 million from $83.1 million. Comps, which include e-commerce sales, rose 4.3 percent.

The global equity markets began their declines overseas in Asia, giving up some of Tuesday’s gains as hopes for stimulus spending in China faded. Then came the fears in Europe over the weakness of Spanish banks.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent to 8,633.19, while the Hang Seng Index was down 1.9 percent to 18,690.22.

Europe’s major indices took a hit as investors took flight and sent stocks spiraling downward.

Earlier this week, 10-year Spanish government bond yields rose to 6.55 percent and the cost of insuring against a Spanish default also hit a new high. Seven percent is the danger threshold at which countries such as Ireland have asked for international help. Investors are also worried that Spain’s banking problems will raise borrowing costs to dangerous levels. In addition, the auction in Italy of five- and 10-year securities was met with weak demand.

Meanwhile, a new poll in Greece suggests that pro- and antiausterity parties have equal support in Greece in the run-up to a second round of elections on June 17.

The CAC 40 in Paris fell 2.2 percent to 3,015.58, followed by the DAX in Frankfurt and the FTSE MIB in Milan, which were both down 1.8 percent to 6,280.80 and to 12,872.58 respectively. The FTSE 100 fared slightly better, falling 1.7 percent to 5,297.28.

In the U.S., investors flew to safe-haven investments, sending the U.S. Treasury benchmark on 10-year yields to 1.62 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended Wednesday’s trading session down 1.3 percent to 12,419.86, while the S&P Retail Index gave up 1.6 percent to 603.66.

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