The economic outlook is just bad enough that investors are starting to think it looks good.
With growth in the U.S. threatened by continued weakness in the job front and the debt crisis still clamping down on Europe, investors pushed up stocks today on the theory that the Federal Reserve might be ready to step in and help boost the economy. The Ben S. Bernanke-led Fed wraps up a two-day meeting on monetary policy Wednesday and is expected to weigh in with a statement midday.
Ahead of that update, the S&P Retail Index rose 0.8 percent, or 5.19 points, to 627.05 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.8 percent, or 95.51 points, to 12,837.33. The retail gainers included The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which shot up 10.3 percent to $5.91 after agreeing to sell its credit card portfolio, and Zumiez Inc., which rose 4.6 percent to $41.16 after inking a $75 million deal to acquire Austrian retailer Blue Tomato.
Also gaining ground were G-III Apparel Group Ltd., up 6.1 percent to $24.38; Sears Holdings Corp., 5.4 percent to $54.44; Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., 4.3 percent to $41.11, and Nordstrom Inc., 4.1 percent to $51.03.
Shares of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. fell 8.6 percent to $22.25 as investors reacted to the departure of president Michael Francis.
In Europe, markets gained ground even as traders kept close watch on borrowing costs for Spain. Investors have also been keeping close tabs on Italy’s borrowing costs, but were more bullish today than they have been.
Milan’s FTSE MIB gained 3.4 percent to 13,445.46 as Frankfurt’s DAX rose 1.8 percent to 6,363.36, London’s FTSE 100 increased 1.7 percent to 5,586.21 and Paris’ CAC 40 advanced 1.7 percent to 3,117.92.
@juicebeauty, where @gwynethpaltrow holds the title of creative director of makeup, has become one of the foremost labels in the organic beauty category –– with sales on track to hit $100 million this year. What’s behind the rapid growth the brand is experiencing right now? It all started in 2005 when the wellness movement was just getting started. Read more on WWD.com. #wwdbeauty
Stay up to do date with breaking news and trending stories with WWD’s “The Essentialist.” Our newsletter delivers the top news in fashion right to your inbox. Want more info? Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
"I want to tell a story that inspires people to feel good about themselves, but also I'm making a commentary about the lack of female stories and female directors and saying this should change," said @imheathergraham on her latest project "Half Magic." The comedy feature, which the actress wrote and directed, is based on her own struggles as a woman in show business. Read @andrewnodell's full interview with Graham on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
@meltcosmetics cofounders @lora_arellano and @danabomar built their brand on a single idea: a true matte lipstick. To set the brand apart, they said they always put their customers first –– including a personalized note in each package. #wwdsummits #wwdbeauty
@moncler unveiled its latest project, #MonclerGenius, yesterday at Milan Fashion Week. The Italian outwear maker gave show-goers a preview of the monthly collections – which were created by eight designers and creative talents including Pierpaolo Piccioli, Simone Rocha, Craig Green and more – that will start rolling out in the summer.