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.
“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