Stock markets retreated today as Wal-Mart’s Stores Inc.’s third-quarter sales fell short of expectations, weekly jobless claims spiked and Europe sunk into recession.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was just barely ahead in the final minutes of trading, up 0.20 points to 635.10, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.2 percent, or 20.86 points, to 12,550.09.
Wal-Mart, a component of the Dow but not the retail index, said its third-quarter revenues came in at $113.93 billion — below the $114.95 billion analysts estimated. That helped push the stock down 3.5 percent to $68.80 and, given Wal-Mart’s size, weighed on the market overall.
Other retail decliners included The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which posted narrower third-quarter losses, but saw its stock slip 5.9 percent to $10.29; Urban Outfitters Inc., down 3.8 percent to $34.82, and American Eagle Outfitters, off 2.4 percent to $18.87.
Investors are still trying to gauge the lingering impact of Hurricane Sandy and the consumer reaction to Washington’s debate over the fiscal cliff, a potentially toxic combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts.
Initial jobless claims jumped 78,000 last week to 439,000, well ahead of the 369,000 economists projected. Part of the increase was attributed to Sandy.
In European stock markets closed down as the euro zone officially slipped into recession. According to Eurostat, the euro zone returned to recession in the third quarter ended Sept. 30. The economy across 17 nations shrank 0.1 percent, after contracting 0.2 percent in the second quarter.
A recession is usually defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.
The DAX in Frankfurt and London’s FTSE 100 suffered the day’s biggest losses, both dropping 0.8 percent to 7,043.42 and 5,677.75 respectively. The FTSE MIB in Milan dipped 0.6 percent to 15,162.82, while the CAC 40 in Paris edged down 0.5 percent to 3,382.40.
Retail and luxury stocks were mostly down, with the day’s biggest decliners including Hennes & Mauritz, which fell 3 percent to 213.10 Swedish krona following news that same-store sales in October decreased 5 percent; Mulberry Group, down 2.6 percent to 10.42 pounds; Marks & Spencer Group, 2.1 percent to 37.06 pounds; Compagnie Financière Richemont, 1.9 percent to 64.40 Swiss francs; and PPR, 1.5 percent to 133.50 euros.
The few stocks that gained ground included Asos, up 2.3 percent to 22.32 pounds; French Connection, 4.3 percent to 0.25 pounds, and Luxottica, 0.3 percent to 29.70 euros.
The euro traded at $1.27 versus the dollar, the pound was valued at $1.59, the Swedish krona was worth 15 cents and the Swiss franc traded at $1.06.
@beyonce chose a custom gown by @falgunishanepeacockindia for mother @mstinalawson 's second annual Wearable Art Gala last night. The gown, which took 10 days to make, was inspired by Nubian warrior queen Amanishakheto. Reporting by @hernameislex . #wwdeye 👑 🐝#beyonce
After dressing @justintimberlake for his Super Bowl halftime performance last month, @stellamccartney has designed the star’s "Man of the Woods" tour wardrobe. Timberlake will be wearing a mix of pieces from McCartney’s fall men's collection as well as custom designs and items from his own closet. #wwdfashion
@carmeloanthony is upping his fashion game once again, introducing a hat collection with @goorinbros. Called Fresh Greens by Melo x Goorin, the line consists of five unisex models, all of which are made in America from 100 percent wool. Each hat is lined with Anthony’s signature and the inscription “Knowledge of self, wisdom and understanding.” You can purchase the collection line at Goorin’s website as well as three off its stores in San Francisco, New York City and Las Vegas #wwdaccessories
“I am of tradition, but that doesn’t mean I have an old outlook on life,” Hubert de Givenchy told WWD in an interview in 1978. The legendary designer, who died last week at the age of 91, achieved wide success soon after launching his own couture boutique in the early ’50s, but he refused to pine for that time. For the first time since its original publication, read our interview with Givenchy on his awe for Audrey Hepburn and looking forward. Link in bio. #wwdarchives #fbf (📷: Pierre Schermann)
About last night: @alexachung and @supergausa toasted the launch of their capsule collection. “It’s the shape that I love, so rather than amend the last and make the sole crazy or do anything wild, we just did really subtle additions that I think make it look really luxe-y,” said Chung. #wwdfashion (📷: Marc Patrick)
Exclusive: @off____white’s @virgilabloh is launching an exclusive eyewear capsule collection @sunglasshut. The unisex collection, which is made up of three styles, first made its debut on the brand’s fall runway show in Paris. Get all the details on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion