Stocks took a step back on Monday but were higher for the second straight month. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Weakness in apparel retailers, following the holiday shopping weekend and disappointing data, weighed down Wall Street Monday. But the major indices posted gains for the second straight month. Margie Patel of Wells Fargo Asset Management: (SOUNDBITE) MARGIE PATEL, SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER, WELLS FARGO ASSET MANAGEMENT (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Maybe hopes were a little bit too high for retail sales over the Thanksgiving weekend, and, I think, looking forward, it's a realization that growth is really rather slow, and, maybe, the enthusiasm we expect in the end of the year upswing might already be reflected in stock prices. So, maybe, we should expect them to fade a little bit here." Stocks of Office Depot and Staples fell. The New York Post reports that federal regulators are preparing to block their merger. Also in the red: Lululemon Athletica. FBR Capital downgraded the shares to "underperform" from "market perform." It and Canaccord Genuity cut the yogawear retailer's price targets. On the rise: Tribune Publishing. The owner of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other dailies said it's not in talks or in the process of selling itself. Fitbit got a lift. Barclays Capital upped the wearable fitness device maker's stock to "overweight" from "equal weight." Investors got weak economic data. The Chicago purchasing management index plunged into contraction territory. Pending home sales rose much less than expected. Morgan Stanley shares edged higher on a Bloomberg report that it was planning to cut about 25 percent of its fixed income jobs. In Europe, expectations of an interest rate cut this week drove shares mostly higher. But the FTSE 100 finished in the red.