Only a late Friday selloff kept retail stocks from finishing in the black for the week.

 

The S&P Retail Index Friday was down 0.4 percent to 537.65, translating into a 0.5 percent decline for the week and trimming its year-to-date gain to 5.9 percent. Major U.S. indices began the day with robust gains that were pared to between 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent during sustained afternoon selling Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 1.3 percent for the week but is up 9.2 percent so far this year. The S&P 500 was off 1.7 percent last week, reducing its gain for 2011 to 6.5 percent.

 

Retail stocks began the week on an up note before declining in the remaining four sessions of the week, including a heavy-volume day on Wall Street Thursday as stores reported better-than-expected April sales but investors retreated from commodities including silver and oil. The retail outlook has been clouded by concerns about the effects of higher apparel prices as higher costs for cotton work their way through the supply chain this summer.

 

Of the 170 North American and European equities tracked by WWD, 170 were down last week, 50 were up and four were unchanged.

 

Europe’s major indices were off last week, with London’s FTSE 100 down 1.5 percent to 5,976.77, Paris’s CAC 40 down 1.2 percent to 4,058.01 and Frankfurt’s DAX down 0.3 percent to 7,492.25, trimming year-to-date gains to 1.3 percent, 6.7 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively.

 

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 managed to advance 0.1 percent last week to 9,859.20, reducing its drop for the year to 3.6 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index declined 2.4 percent to 23,159.14, while Shanghai’s SSE Composite Index was down 1.7 percent for the week but remains up 2 percent for the year at 2,864.15.

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