NEW YORK — The WWD Composite Stock Index advanced for the first time in seven weeks, gaining 1.7 percent to 1,066.39 from 1,048.19 a week ago, helped partly by solid second-quarter results from two major manufacturers.
The S&P 500 also ended the week up for the first time since June 10, improving 1.4 percent to 1,101.72 from 1,086.2. That gain came despite a series of conflicting economic reports. Although consumer confidence surged to a two-year high, crude oil prices shot past $43 a barrel on Wednesday and the gross domestic product grew at a much cooler annual rate of 3 percent in the second quarter.
Indicators were more clear cut in the WWD index, however, because of higher profits from industry stalwarts Jones Apparel Group and Liz Claiborne Inc.
At Jones, investors traded up the company’s shares 1.3 percent to $37.35 from $36.86 a week ago after Jones said second-quarter net income rose 9.1 percent to $77.6 million and total revenues gained 7.4 percent to $1.05 billion.
As for Claiborne, investors reacted with even more enthusiasm, sending its stock 7 percent higher to $36.19 from $33.81 a week ago. The company’s 13.3 percent increase in net income to $50.6 million and 6.9 percent sales gain to $1.03 billion, along with an increase in its full-year earnings per share forecast of $2.79 to $2.83 from $2.70 to $2.77, all contributed to the bullish sentiment for the stock.
On a smaller scale, Kenneth Cole Productions Inc.’s stock finished the week up 3.1 percent to $32.09 from $31.12 after the company posted double-digit bottom- and top-line gains in the second quarter and beat Wall Street’s forecast by 2 cents.
Not to be outdone, investors rewarded Guess Inc.’s swing back to second-quarter profitability with an 11 percent run-up in the share price to close at $16.20 from $14.60 last week. Guess said better sales across all three of its business segments contributed to the $2.1 million in profits it recorded versus last year’s $5.4 million loss.
— Dan Burrows
This story first appeared in the August 2, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.