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.
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)