Retail Up as Dow Closes Above 16,000

Strong jobs data offsets earnings results bearing weak guidance figures.

U.S. stocks took their cues from improved data on jobs, rather than mixed news about earnings, and sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its first close above 16,000.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 0.5 percent to 916.60 today as retailers including Gap Inc. and Target Corp. reported results for the challenging third quarter. The Dow advanced 0.7 percent to close at16,009.99 after flirting with and briefly beating the round-number milestone earlier in the week, and the S&P 500 led the U.S. indices with a 0.8 percent jump to 1,795.85.

The Labor Department reported first-time jobless claims last week were at their lowest level since September.

The strongest performance among retail, fashion and beauty stocks traded by WWD came from The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., with shares up 23 percent to $15.08 after it reported a substantial and larger-than-expected reduction in its third-quarter loss.

Among the biggest declines for the day came from retailers who reported weakness in third-quarter results, fourth-quarter projections or both.

Stein Mart Inc.’s shares were off 8.2 percent to $14.77 while Target Corp., its earnings down by nearly half and its full-year outlook reduced, saw it shares wither 3.5 percent to $64.19. Although it didn’t issue guidance, Sears Holdings Corp.’s shares were off 2.9 percent to $59.93 on its wider loss and lower sales in the third quarter.

Results in Europe were mixed. The FTSE 100 in London closed up less than 0.1 percent at 6,683.59, while the FTSE MIB in Milan managed to edge up 0.6 percent to 18,841.85. The CAC 40 in Paris finished down 0.3 percent at 4,253.90, while the DAX in Frankfurt ended the day down 0.02 percent at 9,199.85.

Fashion stocks had a difficult day. Among those that fell the most were French Connection,which lost 4 percent on the London Stock Exchange to 0.38 pounds, despite having made gains earlier in the day on the back of announcing a like-for-like rise in revenues in the 16 weeks to Nov. 20.
Other stocks that lost ground included Mulberry Group, down 1.1 percent to 10.16 pounds, and Prada, which dipped 1.2 percent to 77 Hong Kong dollars.

Among the few that rose during the day were Ferragamo, up 2.9 percent to 26.52 euros; Safilo Group, up 1 percent to 17.40 euros, and Yoox, which gained 0.8 percent to 30.29 euros.

The pound closed the day at $1.61, while the euro traded for $1.35 and the Hong Kong dollar went for 12 cents.