And then the pessimism set in. The Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment, released today, shows that consumer sentiment decreased to 66, from 70.8 in June. This falls in-line with expectations, but still brings the incex to its lowest level since April. Consumer expectations were also down, at 63.2 from 69.2 in June. Mounting job losses and income fears are keeping shoppers on edge. While investors are hoping the back-to-school season will spur shopping, numbers like these cast doubt on that notion. Retail shares were mixed during afternoon trading, with the S&P Retail Index down 1% to 349.52. Online retailer Amazon.com ( AMZN) plunged more than 8% to $85.92 a day after it reported a 10% decline in second-quarter profit. Pacific Sunwear of California ( PSUN) continued to lose steam, falling 4% $2.92. On Thursday the skate and surf retailer said it expects a bigger-than-expected loss in its second quarter as sales remain weak. Netflix ( NFLX) tumbled 8% to $42.49 after it was downgraded by an analyst.
Oppenheimer's Jason Helfstein downgraded the company to underperform from perform saying DVD purchases are becoming more enticing for consumers, leaving less people looking to rent. Netflix, he says, may not fit in the changing entertainment industry. Drugstore Rite Aid ( RAD) also decreased 1.5% to $1.35 and Best Buy ( BBY) declined 2% to $36.29. But there was several significant gainers. Coldwater Creek ( CWTR) gained 7% to $6.69 a day after the women's apparel retailer said that while it still expects to record a loss in the second quarter, business trends are improving. RadioShack ( RSH) swelled 10% to $16.01, after the electronic retailer was upgraded by two analysts due improvement in its wireless business.