After a volatile day of trading triggered by lackluster same-store sales results and talks of lowered interest rates, retail shares snapped back in late-session action on word that struggling mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. might be bought by Bank of America.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.9 percent to 12,853.09, while the broader S&P 500 clocked a 0.8 percent gain, closing at 1,420.33, according to Yahoo Finance. The S&P Retail Index grew 0.9 percent to 378.38.
Shares of apparel stocks fell in early trading on weak December same-store sales numbers. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's speech Thursday said that the central bank is prepared to act aggressively to help fix the faltering economy. But his remarks soothed investors only briefly.
However, the possible sale of Countrywide improved the mood of Wall Street in the last two hours of trading.
In the retail sector, women's apparel retailer AnnTaylor Stores Corp. was hit the hardest after slashing fourth-quarter earnings guidance and missing comps expectations. Shares of the company were down 15.5 percent, ending the day at $19.95. But competitor Chico's FAS Inc. saw a 3.8 percent rise in shares to $7.58 despite missing its sales guidance.
Gap Inc. dropped 7.1 percent to $17.97 on its weak December performance, while Limited Brands Inc. rose 2 percent to $16.01 on upwardly revised earnings guidance.
Teen retailers Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. fell 4.9 percent on a slight same-store sales decline, while Abercrombie and Fitch Co. dropped 2.3 percent, closing at $73.37, on softer same-store sales.
But shares of American Eagle Outfitters Inc., which has been struggling with sales recently, soared 7 percent to $18.97 despite lower earnings guidance. Investors keyed in on bright spots in the retailer's sales performance such as men's wear.
Off-pricers reported a successful holiday and were awarded by investors. Shares of TJX Cos. Inc. jumped 6.9 percent to $28.45, while Ross Stores Inc. soared 11.2 percent, closing at $24.57.
Discounter Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was also a bright spot in an otherwise dismal holiday. Shares of the retail giant swelled 3.2 percent to $48.40 as comps came in better than expected.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye