Assurances of consistency at the Federal Reserve from new chair Janet Yellen soothed investors’ lingering anxieties, sending markets in the U.S. and Europe higher and propelling retail stocks to their sixth straight day of gains.
Following Yellen’s remarks to Congress about how she expected a “great deal of continuity” with the policies of her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.2 percent to 15,994.77 and the S&P 500 leaped above the 1,800 mark to close ahead 1.1 percent at 1,819.75.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group managed a more modest 0.7 percent gain to close at 891.93, reducing their decline for the year to 5.1 percent.
Sears Holdings Corp. experienced the largest run-up of the retail, fashion and beauty equities tracked by WWD, rising 8.4 percent to $38.72. Burlington Stores Inc.’s shares moved ahead 6.2 percent to $26.68 and J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s were up 4.9 percent for the day to $5.99.
Bebe Stores Inc.’s shares took a 4.2 percent hit, declining to $5.50, after two days of strong gains following its report late Thursday of smaller-than-expected second-quarter losses, while shares of Urban Outfitters Inc. declined 2.8 percent, to $35.61, after it said late Monday that a 9 percent decline in comparable sales at its Urban Outfitters brand reduced fourth-quarter comps to a 1 percent increase. Corporate net sales advanced 5.7 percent to $905.9 million during the quarter.
European markets rallied as trading ended following Yellen’s remarks and finished with increases of 1 percent or more.
The DAX in Frankfurt gained the most, climbing 2 percent to 9,487.77; followed by the FTSE 100 in London, 1.2 percent to 6,672.66; the CAC 40 in Paris, 1.1 percent to 4,283.32; and the FTSE MIB in Milan, 1 percent to 19,887.39.
Retail and luxury stocks were mostly on the uptick, with the exception of L’Oréal, which fell 3.2 percent to 124.90 euros after announcing that it planned to buy back 48.5 million of its own shares from Nestlé, and Metro, which was down 3.1 percent after it said first-quarter sales and operating profit were hit by difficult market conditions, adverse currency effects and portfolio changes.
Among the stocks that gained the most ground were Marks & Spencer Group, 2.6 percent to 4.83 pounds; Debenhams, 3.8 percent to 77 pence, and Kering, 2.8 percent to 153.40 euros.
The euro traded at $1.36 against the U.S. dollar while the pound fetched $1.20 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.11.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
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25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
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