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Retail Stocks Share in Market’s Gains

S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group up for third straight session.

Wall Street’s fortunes rose as tensions in Ukraine abated, helping to lift retail stocks to their third consecutive day of gains.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 0.3 percent to 929.86. That performance lagged behind the gains posted by the S&P 500, up 0.7 percent to 1,872.25, and Dow Jones Industrial Average, up 0.6 percent to 16,336.19.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reduced international anxiety considerably when he said he does not plan to seize further areas of Ukraine or “partition” the country. Putin made the comments as he signed a bill with Crimea’s leaders in which Crimea was absorbed as part of Russia.

That helped lift European markets as they ended their trading day and put U.S. markets, including retail shares, into positive territory.

Among retail, fashion and beauty issues tracked by WWD, Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. logged one of the day’s biggest gains, rising 6.4 percent to $3 in advance of its fourth-quarter earnings release as the markets closed. With its fourth-quarter loss lower than anticipated, shares continued to move upward in after-hours trading, rising an additional 6.7 percent to $3.20 within 20 minutes of the markets’ close.

Another struggling teen retailer, Aéropostale Inc., saw shares advance 5.2 percent to $5.91. Elizabeth Arden Inc. and Fossil Group Inc. had identical 4.6 percent increases to $31.24 and $118.04, respectively.

Among retailers in decline were The Wet Seal Inc., down 7.1 percent to $1.70, and Delia’s Inc., off 2.6 percent to $1.13. Both are scheduled to report quarterly financial results after the market closes on Thursday.

Shares of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. lost 3.5 percent to close at $8.39.

Despite difficulties for Europe’s online retailers, the continent’s markets all ended the day ahead.

The CAC 40 in Paris gained the most, rising 1 percent to 4,313,26, followed by the FTSE MIB in Milan, up 0.9 percent to 21,038.03. The DAX in Frankfurt rose 0.7 percent to 9,242.55, while the FTSE 100 in London was up 0.6 percent to 6,605.28.

It was a largely positive day for fashion and retail stocks, although online retailers suffered declines after Asos.com’s trading update for the two months to Feb. 28 disappointed investors, sending shares down 17 percent to 52.50 pounds at the close. While Asos’s revenues climbed 25.9 percent to 139.2 million pounds, or $229.7 million, in the two months to Feb. 28, the company’s announced increase in capital expenditure for the year and a forecast reduction in its operating margin for the year troubled investors.

Other online retailers also fell — Boohoo.com lost 12.4 percent to 58 pence while Koovs dipped 2.4 percent to 1.82 pounds and Yoox fell 3.3 percent to 28.14 euros.

Among the stocks that rose were Safilo Group, up 4.4 percent to 15.06 euros; Ferragamo, which gained 1.9 percent to 21.40 euros; Gemfields, up 1.3 percent to 36 pence, and French Connection, up 3.8 percent to 61 pounds.

The pound traded for $1.66 against the U.S. dollar while the euro went for $1.39.