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Express Shares Rise 21.4% On Sycamore Overture

U.S. retail index ends week with fifth consecutive decline.

Shares of Express Inc. rose more than 20 percent in the aftermath of Sycamore Partners’ disclosure Thursday that it had acquired a 9.9 percent stake in the retailer and is interested in buying the company outright.

The stock was up 21.4 percent to $16.45 as trading ended for the week, the greatest advance by far of any of the U.S.-based fashion, retail and beauty stocks monitored by WWD.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group, however, closed out the week with its fifth consecutive decline, pulling back 0.2 percent to 875.21, 2.3 percent below its closing mark last Friday and off 6.9 percent for the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 advanced 0.3 percent each, to 16,775.74 and 1,936.16, respectively. Their declines for the week — 0.9 and 0.7 percent — were the sharpest in two months. Still, the Dow is up 1.2 percent for the year and the S&P is ahead 4.8 percent.

Sycamore’s play for Express allowed most teen and youth retailers to register gains for the day and helped those with gains in the WWD sample outnumber those with declines by about a two-to-one margin.

Shares of Aéropostale Inc, were up 2.4 percent to $3.42 while American Eagle Outfitters Inc. moved ahead 2.3 percent to $11.31 and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. advanced 1.6 percent to $41.71.

Outside the teen sphere, Lands’ End Inc. shares continued the upward movement which accompanied the firm’s strong report on first-quarter earnings Thursday, closing at $30.50, ahead 5.9 percent.

Lululemon Athletica Inc., shares of which declined 15.9 percent Thursday following lower first-quarter profits and reduced second-quarter guidance, made back some ground and gained 1 percent to $37.61.

Among those in decline, Inter Parfums Inc. was off 1.5 percent to $27.75 and Destination XL Group Inc. fell the same percentage to $5.08.

Europe’s major indices were largely down at the end of the week’s trading.

The FTSE 100 in London led the decliners, down 1 percent to 6,777.85, followed by the DAX in Frankfurt, which fell 0.3 percent to 9,912.87, while the CAC 40 in Paris was down 0.2 percent to 4,543.28. The FTSE MIB in Milan edged up 0.01 percent to 22,165.97.

All four indices were down for the week — ranging from London’s 1.2 percent dip to Milan’s 0.6 percent contraction. For the year, all have advanced, led by Milan’s 16.9 percent improvement and Paris’s 5.8 percent rise.

Fashion, luxury and retail stocks put on a mostly lackluster performance, registering some significant declines. Bank of England governor Mark Carney’s speech at London’s Mansion House Thursday led to investor caution when he suggested a rise in interest rates “could happen sooner than markets currently expect.” The U.K. Web site This is Money suggested investors were concerned a rise in interest rates could lead the pound higher, creating difficulties for U.K. retailers that operate outside the country.

Among those that fell the most were Asos, down 5.8 percent to 28.99 pounds; French Connection, which lost 4.6 percent to 67 pence; Ted Baker, which fell 2.8 percent to 18.70 pounds, and Next, down 2.7 percent to 62.50 pounds.

The few stocks in the fashion sector that rose included Gemfields, up 1 percent to 51 pence; Prada, up 0.3 percent to 54.65 Hong Kong dollars, and Unilever, which rose 0.3 percent to 32.26 euros.

The pound traded for $1.68 against the U.S. dollar, while the euro changed hands for $1.35 and the Hong Kong dollar for 13 cents.