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US stocks slip for a second day; retailers sink

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Stocks wavered a second day as investors weighed disappointing retail news against a report that the number of people seeking jobless benefits fell 15,000 last week, more than expected. They were also awaiting Friday’s jobs report. Retailers were among the hardest hit stocks: Bed Bath & Beyond down 12.5% and Family Dollar off 2%, making them the S&P 500’s biggest losers. Both cut profit forecasts after holiday sales disappointed. Sears fell 3% while L Brands (Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret) fell 4%. ‘Consumers are supposed to be the fuel of this economy, and it doesn’t appear to be happening,’ said Ian Winer, at Wedbush.

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