Friday stocks slide as Gap Inc. plunges, retailers flail

So far today, Dow has slipped 38 points, now at 12,567.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks slid Friday on signs that U.S. consumer demand may be weakening and fears about the Greek debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 78 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,527 in afternoon trading.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 9, or 0.7 percent, to 1,334. The Nasdaq composite fell 22, or 0.8 percent, to 2,801.
Gap Inc. plunged 17 percent after reporting late Thursday that its costs for raw materials rose faster than expected, hurting its quarterly profit. The national clothing chain also cut its forecast for what it would earn in the full year.
Gap’s sales have been sluggish, a worrying sign for investors who are counting on shoppers to lead a recovery in consumer spending. Gap’s results pushed down other clothing companies who have been hit hard by the rising price of cotton and shoppers who are reluctant to splurge. Four of the five worst-performing stocks in the S&P 500 Friday were retailers. Urban Outfitters Inc. fell 5 percent. Ralph Lauren Corp., Limited Brands Inc., and VF Corp. also fell.
Other retailers have also been struggling. On Thursday Big Lots Inc. fell 9 percent after news reports that it had decided not to sell itself to private equity firms.
One exception to the retailer gloom was Barnes & Noble Inc. The bookseller jumped 29 percent after announcing late Thursday that Liberty Media Corp. had offered to buy the company for $1 billion in cash.

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