Officials in New York and Washington were on the watch for reprisals Monday after U.S. special forces killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan Sunday. But aside from a stepped-up police presence, it appeared to be business as usual for the retail and financial worlds.
The S&P Retail Index shot up to 546.67 in afternoon trading, the highest reading ever from the nine-year-old gauge of retail stocks. The sector, which has traditionally led the market out of downturns, has been boosted by strong corporate earnings, lower unemployment and a sense that the recovery is strengthening. The outlook is clouded by rising food and gasoline prices for consumers and higher costs for cotton and labor for manufacturers and retailers.
Retail stocks ended up 0.6 percent, or 3.07 points, to 543.57, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 3.18 points to 12,807.36. Retail gainers included Urban Outfitters Inc., ahead 1.2 percent to $31.85, and Macy’s Inc., up 1.1 percent to $24.18.
Bin Laden’s killing, which was ordered by President Obama, is not seen as having a direct financial impact on the U.S., though it does eliminate an uncertainty that’s lingered for nearly a decade following the coordinated plane hijackings that destroyed the Twin Towers in New York and damaged the Pentagon in Washington.
“Every time he semisurfaced with a broadcast on Al Jazeera or wherever, it was widely reported,” said James Smith, chief economist for wealth management firm Parsec Financial Management. “People got concerned.”
In addition to the 9/11 attack, New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly said bin Laden was involved in or served as inspiration for “at least a dozen plots against the city since then, including ones to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, to bomb mass transit and to smuggle explosives into the Garment District.”
Kelly said the department was “not taking any chances” and allotted for an increased police presence during Monday’s evening commute. High-profile locations such as Times Square, the Financial District and Grand Central Station were also getting additional attention.
In Washington, Metro Transit Police said they were stepping up security of the entire subway and bus system “out of an abundance of caution.”
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the federal government was not planning to raise the terror alert level, but would closely monitor the situation.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast