Retail stocks rose 0.3 percent Friday, cutting their decline for the week to 2.8 percent, as concerns about the unrest in Libya and its effects on oil and gas prices rattled global markets.
The S&P Retail Index ended the week at 511.83, cutting its 2011 increase to 0.8 percent, down from its 3.7 percent improvement as of Feb. 18.
The sensitivity of consumer spending to fluctuations in gas prices reverberated throughout global markets fearful of an interruption in world economies’ comeback from the recession.
The retail index’s decline for the week surpassed pullbacks by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, off 2.1 percent to 12,130.45; the Nasdaq Composite, off 1.9 percent to 2,78.05, and the S&P 500, off 1.7 percent to 1,319.88.
International markets suffered comparable weekly contractions. Frankfurt’s DAX fell 3.3 percent, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 dropped 2.9 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index pulled back 2.5 percent. The week exacted a lighter toll on the CAC 40 in Paris, down 2.1 percent; the FTSE 100 in London, down 1.3 percent; and Shanghai’s SSE, down 0.7 percent.
Among the 171 issues tracked by WWD, 46 were up for the week, versus 123 that declined and two that were flat.
Although geopolitical and macroeconomic factors weighed on the equity markets last week, the profitability of U.S. retailers did not. Strong earnings reports emerged from stores including Macy’s Inc., Saks Inc., Gap Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Kohl’s Corp. and Target Corp. Although Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s earnings beat expectations, the world’s largest retailer reported declines in same-store sales at its U.S. discount stores for the seventh consecutive quarter.