MARKET DROP HITS APPAREL, SPARES MOST RETAIL STOCKS

NEW YORK — Apparel stocks were beaten down Thursday, but most retail issues dodged the bullet as the Dow Jones Industrials sank 125 points, mostly in the last hour of trading.
While through most of Thursday’s session the market appeared to be stabilizing despite sharp declines in Asian and other foreign markets earlier, the downtrend caught up with Wall Street before the day’s end.
Gucci Group was one of the hardest hit in the apparel group, sinking 2 7/16 to 34 1/16. Other losers include Donna Karan International, 5/16 to 14 1/16; Nautica, 3/4 to 26; Tommy Hilfiger, which has been sinking since Wednesday’s quarterly report that showed strong earnings but sharply higher inventory, 13/16 to 40 3/16; Polo Ralph Lauren, 1/8 to 25 1/8; Jones Apparel Group, 5/8 to 50 1/16; Liz Claiborne, 1/2 to 50 13/16; Fruit of the Loom, 1 to 25 1/2, and Warnaco, 1/16 to 28 1/4. In this sea of minus signs, St. John Knits stood out with a gain of 5/16 to 40 5/8.
Among retailers, there were a number of fairly respectable gains. Nordstrom picked up 2 1/4 to 60 3/8; Dayton Hudson, 1 1/4 to 62 1/4; Gap, 1 to 52 9/16; TJX Cos., 3/4 to 29 3/4; Federated Department Stores, 1/2 to 43 1/8; J.C. Penney, 1/2 to 55 7/8; Kohl’s, 11/16 to 65 1/4; The Limited, 5/8 to 23 1/4; Kmart, 1/4 to 13 1/8, and Spiegel, 3/16 to 6 3/16.
Dress Barn, which reported October same-store sales up 6 percent, rose 11/16 to 25 3/16. There were also some retail losers, including Saks Holdings, down 7/16 to 21 1/16; Neiman Marcus Group, off 7/8 to 32 7/8; Sears, Roebuck, 7/8 to 41 1/8; May Department Stores, 13/16 to 53 7/16, and Mercantile Stores, 3/8 to 58 9/16. Proffitt’s, which announced Wednesday that it had an agreement to buy Carson Pirie Scott, lost 5/8 to 27 1/2. Carson’s, which ran up more than 7 points after the announcement, added 1 Thursday to 46 1/8.
Trading on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday continued at a near-record pace with 711 million shares changing hands, just below Wednesday’s 770.6 million. The record was set on Tuesday when over 1 billion shares traded.
Leading the general market downward Thursday were banking and high tech stocks. Bank stocks reflected continued turmoil in Asian markets, both in stock prices and currency values. Tokyo stocks were down sharply, where bank stocks were also among the big losers. In Hong Kong stocks fell 3.7 percent, as traders remained concerned whether the value of the Hong Kong dollar can be defended.

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