Aug. 2 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks sell-off in the U.S. and across Europe after the ECB's ''do whatever it takes'' is more word than deed; Dark days for Knight Capital; Retailers enjoy sunny July sales. Conway G. Gittens reports.
It's the second day in a row investors received less from a central bank than they were hoping for. This time the disappointment came by way of the head of the European Central Bank who promised to "do whatever it takes" but actually did nothing after a meeting... leaving stocks to drop by less than a full percent in the U.S. after bigger losses earlier in the session. But it was the fight for survival of Wall Street firm Knight Capital Group that stole the headlines. Take a look at the stock - it's lost 75 percent of its value in two days. The company could be up for sale, or headed for bankruptcy, after a technology glitch caused a $440 million loss and a crisis of confidence. Chain store sales at stores opened more than a year topped forecasts with the Gap being a winner. July's numbers set the stage for the back-to-school shopping season, the second most important time of the year behind Christmas. Nancy Liu, a retail strategist at Kurt Salmon, says retailers are moving up those seasonal promotions. SOUNDBITE: NANCY LIU, RETAIL STRATEGIST, KURT SALMON (ENGLISH) SAYING: "A lot have started in early July, which is much earlier than last year. Additionally some interesting promotions have happened this year. JCPenney for instance have been doing some interesting events, also cross-retailer promotions, Old Navy and Office Max has been doing cross promotions where if you buy at one retailer you get a discount at another; so understanding that the consumers today are looking for a value but also convenience." Retailers are responding to the lackluster labor market. The number of Americans lining up for jobless benefits rose last week, but not by as much as expected. The big jobs number comes Friday. Wall Street predicts net job creation of 100,000 for July with the jobless rate holding at 8.2 percent. Stocks slid 2.2 percent in Germany, 2.7 percent in France and less than a percent in the U.K. Conway Gittens, Reuters