Retailers Lead a Broad Decline In Stocks as Macy’s Plunges 


A rout in retail stocks pulled U.S. indexes down on Wednesday. Macy’s, the largest U.S. department store chain, slashed its annual profit forecast after it reported a steep drop in earnings. Office Depot and Staples took big losses after a judge blocked their plans to merge.

Macy’s had its biggest one-day loss since 2008, and its fa dragged down department store, clothing, jewelry and accessories companies. Coming off their biggest gain in two months, stocks were lower all day, and most parts of the market slumped. Health care stocks took some of the biggest losses.

Utilities companies traded higher as bond prices rose and yields fell, and energy companies rose with oil prices. The price of oil climbed after the U.S. Department of Energy surprised investors by reporting oil stockpiles shrank last week, and production also fell.

The& Dow& Jones industrial average sank 217.23 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,711.12. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 19.93 points, or 1 percent, to 2,064.46. The Nasdaq composite index lost 49.19 points, or 1 percent, to 4,760.69.

Macy’s fell to its lowest price since December 2011 after it posted disappointing sales and said shoppers spent less on clothes and international tourists spent less. Macy’s also sharply reduced its annual profit forecast. The stock sank $5.61, or 15.2 percent, to $31.38.

Retailers including Michael Kors, Nordstrom, Kohl’s and Tiffany also took big losses.

Office Depot and Staples plunged after calling off their proposed merger. A federal judge ruled that competition for office supplies would be reduced if the largest office-supply chain combined with the second-largest, supporting the government’s effort to stop the $6.3 billion deal. Office Depot nosedived $2.46, or 40.4 percent, to $3.63 and reached its lowest price in three years. Staples skidded $1.90, or 18.3 percent, to $8.46.

Online rival Amazon, which is trading at all-time highs, rose $10.16, or 1.4 percent, to $713.23.

Already trading at its highest price in six months, benchmark U.S. crude rose again after the government reported a surprise decline of 3.4 million barrels in supplies for last week. Analysts were expecting an increase. U.S. oil production also fell, and is down 6 percent compared to a year ago.

U.S. crude rose $1.57, or 3.5 percent, to $46.23 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, jumped $2.08, or 4.6 percent, to $47.60 a barrel in London.

Energy companies also traded higher. ConocoPhillips rose 81 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $43.68 and Halliburton gained 70 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $39.54.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 10 cents, or 6.4 percent, to $1.58 a gallon. Heating oil increased 6 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $1.40 a gallon. Natural gas rose 2 cents to $2.17 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The price of gold rose $10.70 to $1,275.50 an ounce. Silver gained 23 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $17.32 an ounce. Copper picked up 1 cent to $2.10 a pound.

Germany’s DAX slid 0.7 percent and France’s CAC 40 was 0.5 percent lower. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged up 0.1 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.1 percent.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.73 percent from 1.76 percent. The dollar fell to 108.49 yen from 109.30 yen. The euro rose to $1.1425 from $1.1370.