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Macy's, JCPenney lead rout in retail stocks as Dow falls

Lauren Thomas
  • Macy's and JC Penney led a rout in retail stocks Wednesday morning.
  • Several retailers shares fell by double digits in early morning trading as the Dow sank by more than 300 points.

Shares of retailers took a thrashing Wednesday with Macy's M and JC Penney JCP leading the rout, tumbling by as much as 14.3 percent and 11 percent, respectively, in early morning trading.

At their lowest point, shortly after 10 a.m., Dillard's DDS slid by as much as 7.5 percent, Kohl's KSS was down 7.5 percent and Nordstrom's JWN fell 6.2 percent.

Even Amazon AMZN wasn't immune, following the group as its shares fell 2.6 percent.

Retailers are grappling with higher commodity costs and tariffs on their goods as the Trump administration escalates its trade war across the globe. Stores also struggle to grow sales amid declining foot traffic and increased competition online. The broader markets were similarly down in morning trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 300 points while the S&P 500 declined 1.2 percent. The Nasdaq Composite pulled back 1.7 percent. Global investors fear Turkey's economic troubles could spell trouble for other economies around the world.

Macy's shares tumbled even after the department store operator reported quarterly earnings and sales that topped analysts' expectations and hiked its forecast for the full year.

The National Retail Federation released an upbeat report Wednesday, saying that July retail sales rose 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from June and increased 4.9 percent on an unadjusted basis year-over-year, giving the industry a solid kickoff for the third quarter as consumers continued to spend despite concerns about the growing trade war.

"Consumer spending is the backbone of the current economic expansion but the fly in the ointment is uncertainty regarding tariffs," NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. "If they escalate, they will no doubt weigh on confidence and household spending."

CNBC's Lauren Hirsch contributed to this article.

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