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US: Retailer shares dive as US stocks retreat

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[NEW YORK] Shares of retailers suffered sharp declines Thursday as US stocks retreated following a disappointing earnings report from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

The home-goods retailer plunged 9.2 per cent as it reported a 29 per cent drop in third-quarter net income to US$126.4 million behind lower comparable-store sales.

Analysts also pointed to US data that showed personal consumption expenditures rose just 0.2 per cent in November, disappointing some expectations about the key holiday shopping period.

Shares of Target tumbled 4.4 per cent, Best Buy 3.7 per cent and Wal-Mart Stores 2.3 per cent.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.1 per cent to 19,918.88, retreating further from 20,000.

The S&P 500 lost 0.2 per cent at 2,260.96, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.4 per cent to 5,447.42.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries rose 1.5 per cent after it agreed to pay $519 million to settle criminal charges that it paid bribes foreign officials to win business in Russia, Ukraine and Mexico.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba dropped 2.8 per cent after the United States Trade Representative said one of Alibaba's platforms,, was selling a large number of pirated and counterfeit goods.

Alibaba criticised the decision, saying the USTR's move ignores the Chinese company's efforts to police goods and may be due to the "current political climate" more than reality.

Weight Watchers International jumped 6.7 per cent after Oprah Winfrey appeared in an ad campaign for the company touting a 40-pound weight loss. Winfrey has a stake in the company.