While the U.S. government’s shutdown continued to drag on for the fourth day, Wall Street merely shrugged its shoulders.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5 percent to 15,072.58, while the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group gained 0.6 percent to 858.16.
Some federal government workers have been furloughed since Tuesday. And with the shutdown, many agencies, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, have closed. That has put certain monthly macroeconomic data reports on hold, such as the monthly employment report that was due out today.
IHS Global Insight’s chief U.S. economist Doug Handler said, “The shutdown is making it more difficult for companies to conduct routine business.…We see the economic impact of the shutdown amounting to about 0.2 percentage point of GDP per week in the fourth quarter.”
Handler added: “When the debt ceiling is reached later this month and the government cannot borrow any additional funds, the level of inconvenience will escalate dramatically, as many who are owed money by the government will see only partial or late payments. A failure to resolve either issue will be game changing for the macroeconomy, but we assume these events will be intelligently addressed before they blossom into full-blown crises.”
Sterne Agee chief economist Lindsey Piegza said, “The cost of a shutdown resulting from fewer workers and services is likely to have a limited impact on growth, but that does not include the intangible effects on consumers and businesses.…Going forward, the longer it takes Washington officials to reach a compromise, the greater the impact on the consumer as a loss in confidence translates into an unwillingness to spend.”
Many stocks rose, with Zale Corp. jumping 7.6 percent to $15.75, American Apparel Inc. rising 4.3 percent to $1.22 and Stage Stores Inc. rising 2.9 percent to $19.96. Burlington Stores Inc., which began trading publicly on Wednesday, rose 4.1 percent to $25.89 after hitting an intraday high of $26.46.
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. was the day’s biggest loser among U.S. retailers, dropping 6.5 percent to $7.86, its lowest close since 1982. Destination XL Group Inc. fell 2.1 percent to $6.61.
The day’s trading began in Asia, where its major global indexes ended their trading sessions on a down note, contrary to the major European and American indexes.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.9 percent to 14,024.31, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was down 0.3 percent to 23,138.54.
European stock markets made modest gains at the close of Friday’s trading sessions, with the FTSE MIB in Milan leading the way.
The Italian market was up 1.6 percent to 18,304.22, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris gaining 0.9 percent to 4,164.25. The DAX in Frankfurt advanced 0.3 percent to 8,622.97, while the FTSE 100 in London was up 0.1 percent to 6,453.88.
Retail and luxury stocks put on a mixed show, with the day’s biggest gainers including Ferragamo, up 1.2 percent to 26.30 euros; Yoox.com, 1.9 percent to 25.10 euros, and Geox, 1.7 percent to 2.11 pounds.
Among the stocks that lost the most ground were Marks & Spencer Group, down 1 percent to 4.94 pounds; Debenhams, 1.1 percent to 1.04 pounds, and French Connection, 1.6 percent to 0.31 pounds.