The retail sector has yet to post a gain on Wall Street in 2014.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group surrendered 0.8 percent to end today’s session at 927 — the sector's third-straight decline. That performance was weaker than the 0.3 percent shed by both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500, which closed at 16,425.10 and 1,826.77, respectively.
The teen sector continued to feel much of the pressure. Aéropostale Inc. was down 1.9 percent to $8.99 and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. off 0.6 percent to $32.59 while Ascena Retail Group Inc., owners of the Justice tween chain, traded down 0.2 percent to $22.54. The Buckle Inc. and Urban Outfitters Inc. both declined 0.1 percent, to $52.36 and $37.96, respectively, while American Eagle Outfitters rose 0.5 percent, to $15.05, and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. was up 0.3 percent to $3.65. The Wet Seal Inc. posted one of the strongest gains of the day in the retail world, rising 2.2 percent to $2.77.
Brean Capital analyst Eric Beder lowered his projections for American Eagle, Abercrombie, Aéropostale and Wet Seal following what he described as a “disastrous year for the teen players….with the holiday season capping off the misery.” Beder has a “buy” rating on American Eagle, Abercrombie and Wet Seal and a “hold” rating on Aéropostale.
An abbreviated roster of U.S.-based retailers, including Buckle and Zumiez Inc., will report sales results for December on Thursday. A number of retailers who no longer report same-store sales on a monthly basis are expected to provide updates on holiday sales results throughout the week.
Shares of both The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. rose as the battle between the company's entered a new phase. Men's Wearhouse raised its offer to buy Bank to $57.50 a share, from $55, bypassing Bank’s board by going directly its shareholders. Shares of Bank were up 4.5 percent to $56.87 while Men’s Wearhouse’s rose 2.2 percent to $51.68. Bank said it would consider the elevated offer and urged shareholders to take no action until it made a recommendation to shareholders on or before Jan. 17.
In Europe, markets marked a day of mixed trading.
The CAC 40 in Paris ended down 0.5 percent to 4,227.54, while the DAX in Frankfurt slipped 0.1 percent to 9,428.00. The FTSE 100 in London was flat at 6,730.73, while the FTSE MIB in Milan managed to gain 0.6 percent to 19,233.74.
Europe’s market might have taken their cue from the Purchasing Managers’ Index data from China, which showed that growth in the country's service sector is slowing.
Among those on the rise were Geox, which gained 9.5 percent to 3.15 euros; Safilo Group, up 2.1 percent to 18.15 euros, Mulberry, which rose 1.2 percent to 9.40 pounds, and Hennes & Mauritz, up 0.5 percent to 297.80 Swedish krona.
Those that fell included a number of British retailers, after the sector enjoyed increases last week following encouraging reports on holiday sales.
Asos.com was down 1.2 percent to 66.71 pounds, Marks & Spencer slipped 0.8 percent to 4.40 pounds and Debenhams was down 1.1 percent to 77 pence.
The euro traded for $1.36 against the U.S. dollar, while the pound went for $1.64 and the Swedish krona for 15 cents.
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