By and  on December 2, 2013

Concern about the prospects for holiday sales in the aftermath of a tough Thanksgiving weekend ended a four-session winning streak for U.S. retail stocks.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group today dropped 0.7 percent to 926.41 today while the Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up slightly at the end of the day to hold its decline to 0.5 percent, to 16,008.77. The S&P 500 dropped a more modest 0.3 percent to 1,800.90.

In the midst of Cyber Monday, cautionary tales and lackluster reports about the rhythm at retail over the weekend weighed more heavily on investors’ minds than positive indications about manufacturing on both sides of the Atlantic.

If Wall Street’s reaction was any indication of weekend activity, the season got off to a solid start for Lululemon Athletica Inc., Burlington Stores Inc., Gap Inc. and The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. Lululemon led all U.S. retailers tracked by WWD with a 2.4 percent increase in its shares, to $71.40, followed by Burlington, up 2.2 percent to $29.06; Gap, up 1.5 percent to $41.58, and Bon-Ton, up 1.2 percent to $18.

Decliners were led by Destination XL Group Inc., off 8.3 percent to $6.45; Aéropostale Inc., down 5.5 percent to $9.75, and Sears Holdings Corp., off 5.2 percent to $60.20.

Among all retail, fashion and beauty issues followed by WWD, declines outnumbered advances by about a two-to-one margin.

Manufacturing data told a more encouraging story than weekend sales tabulations. The Institute for Supply Management reported that its November index rose to 57.3 from 56.4 in October, with the more recent reading the highest since April 2011.

In Europe, the FTSE MIB in Milan slumped 1.5 percent to 18,732.56, while the FTSE 100 in London dipped 0.8 percent to 6,595.33. The CAC 40 in Paris was down 0.2 percent to 4,285.81, while the DAX in Frankfurt edged down 0.04 percent to 9,401.96.

Stocks in Paris and Milan fell after the release of today’s purchasing managers’ index figures for the euro zone. While the index had climbed in November, it showed that the recovery was stronger in northern European countries, with the report noting that “more southerly countries continue to disappoint…especially France and Spain.”

Positive manufacturing PMI figures for the U.K. showed the rate of production and new orders is close to a 19-year high and that the rate of job creation in the sector is at its fastest since May 2011. Still, that improvement appeared to push down London’s FTSE 100 as investors speculated that the strong manufacturing growth might free the country to raise interest rates.

Those on the rise in the region included Brunello Cucinelli, up 1.6 percent to 26.12 euros; French Connection, 1.4 percent to 0.39 pounds, and Swatch Group, up 1.1 percent to 102.40 Swiss francs.

Among those that fell were Luxottica Group, down 2.7 percent to 37.91 euros; Mulberry Group, 2.2 percent to 9.92 pounds and Marks & Spencer, 1.4 percent to 4.80 pounds.

The euro traded at $1.36 against the dollar while the pound went for $1.64 and the Swiss franc for $1.10.

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