Retail stocks slipped 0.3 percent and the overall market fell for the fifth straight day Thursday as investors waited for signs of how lawmakers would resolve the pending U.S. debt crunch.
If President Obama and Congressional lawmakers don’t agree to a plan to raise the debt ceiling by Tuesday, the U.S. could default on its financial obligations, potentially boosting interest rates and crimping consumer spending.
The S&P Retail Index rose 1.51 points to 538.38 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5 percent, or 62.44 points, to 12,240.11 — the fifth-straight session of declines in blue chip stocks.
Despite the general downward pressure, two fashion companies managed to parlay second-quarter results into big stock gains.
Shares of Liz Claiborne Inc. rose 15.2 percent to $6.29 as the company acknowledged it was talking to buyers for a majority stake in its Mexx division and second-quarter revenues beat estimates. Caché Inc. gained 13.8 percent to $5.70 on stronger-than-expected second-quarter profit and sales results.
And shares of The Talbots Inc. rose 15.5 percent to $3.66 despite no apparent developments at the specialty retailer.