U.S. retail stocks suffered their third consecutive day of declines while outperforming the major indices.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was off 0.2 percent to 891.58, slightly more than the declines of 0.1 and 0.06 percent weather on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
The retail index’s dip was also milder than the 0.6 percent decline registered by the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the 0.4 percent dip for the S&P 500. The Dow finished the trading day at 16,843.88 and the S&P at 1,943.89.
European markets also finished below Tuesday levels. The declines on both sides of the Atlantic came as the World Bank lowered its estimate for worldwide economic growth to 2.8 percent from the 3.2 percent forecast in January. Expectations for growth in U.S. were lowered to 2.1 percent from 2.8 percent and for developing countries to 4.8 percent from 5.3 percent.
In the beauty world, shares of Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. were up 13.8 percent to $97.11 after a strong first-quarter performance that exceeded analysts’ consensus estimates was reported late Tuesday. Ulta’s strong showing helped shares of Elizabeth Arden Inc., an Ulta supplier, leapt 14.3 percent to $28.63.
Francesca’s Holdings Corp. shares advanced 3.8 percent to $14.06 while Christopher & Banks Corp. rallied 3.6 percent to $7.55. Francesca late Wednesday reported quarterly results slightly below consensus while Christopher & Banks exceeded expectations with its first-quarter report on Tuesday morning.
Among issues in decline were Destination XL Group Inc., off 5 percent to $5.28; Oxford Industries Inc., 3.9 percent to $69.66, and Lululemon Athletica Inc., 2.6 percent to $44.30. Oxford’s second-quarter guidance, issued late Tuesday, disappointed investors, while Lululemon, scheduled to report results Thursday morning, held its annual meeting, at which Michael Casey, the non-executive chairman, survived an effort to unseat him and another director from company founder and former chairman and chief executive officer Chip Wilson.
In Europe, the FTSE MIB sank the most, losing 1.2 percent to 22,223.77, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris, 0.9 percent to 4,555.11, and the DAX in Frankfurt, 0.8 percent to 9,949.81. The FTSE 100 in London pulled back 0.5 percent to 6,838.87.
Retail and luxury stocks were mostly down, with the day’s biggest declines including Yoox Group, 2.6 percent to 21.85 euros; Koovs, 1.8 percent to 1.40 pounds; Asos.com, 2.1 percent to 32.32 pounds, and French Connection, 1.3 percent to 70 pence.
Among the few stocks that gained ground were Inditex, which climbed 1.1 percent to 111.50 euros, despite a 7.3 percent decline in net profits in the three months to April 30; Aeffe, 5.4 percent to 1.37 euros; and Gemfields, 9.1 percent to 51 pence.
The euro traded at $1.36 against the U.S. dollar while the pound fetched $1.68 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.11.