U.S. retail stocks suffered their worst losses in seven weeks as increasing anxiety about earnings and guidance combined with fears about Russia’s intentions in Ukraine.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was off 1.7 percent, to 902.49, for its worst decline since the 2.5 percent drop of Feb. 3. While Nasdaq shed 1.2 percent, to 4,226.39, on concerns about biotech stocks, the larger market weathered less damage. The Dow Jones Industrial Average drifted 0.2 percent lower, to 16,276.69, while the S&P 500 was off 0.5 percent to 1,857.44.
With Monday’s decline, retail stocks have evenly divided results for the year. After 56 trading days, the S&P retail monitor has registered 28 days of gains and 28 days of declines. It’s currently 4 percent below the 939.81 level at which it began the year.
Shares of Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. had by far the largest gain among fashion, retail and beauty issues monitored by WWD. They rose 18.2 percent to $88.66 after the company said it had been fined $540,000, far less than expected, in connection with the sale of certain products in China. The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. saw its shares add 8.2 percent, to $11.79, while J.C. Penney Co. Inc. was up 1.3 percent, to $8.60, on the day.
Among companies in the WWD sample, decliners outnumbered advancers by more than a two-to-one margin. The Wet Seal Inc. lost the most, falling 18.7 percent to $1.26 as it prepared for the private placement of $27 million of convertible notes and warrants to be used for general corporate purposes. Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. were also in the losing column, shedding 4.7 and 4.2 percent, respectively, to end the day at $64.10 and $48.77.
European stock markets also were in retreat. Milan’s FTSE MIB and Frankfurt’s DAX both lost 1.7 percent, finishing their sessions at 20,626.58 and 9,188.77, respectively.
The CAC 40 in Paris was down 1.4 percent to 4,276.34. The FTSE 100 in London dipped 0.6 percent to 6,520.39.
Retail and luxury stocks were mostly down, with exceptions including Indian online fast fashion retailer Koovs, which closed ahead 1.1 percent at 1.82 pounds.
Among the stocks that lost the most ground were British online fast fashion retailer Boohoo.com, 4 percent to 60 pence; Asos.com, 5.9 percent to 50.94 pounds; Geox, 2.9 percent to 3.10 euros; Moncler, 3.7 percent to 12.59 euros; Safilo Group, 2.1 percent to 14.60 euros, and Yoox.com, 5.5 percent to 25.01 euros.
The euro traded at $1.38 against the U.S. dollar the pound fetched $1.65 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.13.