August 22, 2012 / 5:12 PM / 8 years ago

US SMALL/MIDCAPS-Shares dip as Japanese data spurs economy fears

NEW YORK, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Mid- and small-cap stocks fell on Wednesday as weak Japanese trade data underlined headwinds facing the global economy and investors took profits following recent gains.

Uncertainty also persisted over Europe’s debt crisis ahead of meetings this week between Greece’s prime minister, Antonis Samaras, and European Union officials. Samaras is seeking to convince EU officials that Greece should be given more time to meet targets for deficits cuts.

Japan reported its exports slumped the most in six months in July as shipments to Europe and China tumbled, adding to concerns over global demand.

“The export numbers were terrible, reinforcing the idea that all isn’t well in the economy,” said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago. “We’ve had a slow, grinding rally and this takes the wind our of our sales and gives investors a reason to step back.”

Cyclical sectors, which are tied to the pace of economic growth, were among the weakest of the day. Mid-cap energy shares fell 0.9 percent while small-cap industrial shares lost 1 percent.

Among the most active small-cap industrials, G&K Services lost 4 percent to $31.87 while Dolan Co sank 3.7 percent to $4.15. In the mid-cap energy space, SM Energy fell 2.7 percent to $47.38 and Helix Energy fell 2.5 percent to $18.76.

The S&P MidCap 400 index fell 0.6 percent while the S&P SmallCap 600 index fell 0.6 percent. The S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent.

In company news, Health Care REIT agreed to buy Sunrise Senior Living Inc for $845 million. Shares of Sunrise surged 59 percent to $14.22 while Health Care lost 3.6 percent to $57.58.

American Eagle Outfitters gained 6.7 percent to $22.23 after it forecast full-year earnings above expectations.

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