Investors gave stocks a chilly reception on the first trading day of 2014, sending retail shares and the broader market to declines.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group surrendered 0.4 percent to end the day at 936.12. The drop-off was smaller than the 0.8 percent decrease registered by the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the 0.9 percent fall for the S&P 500, which landed at 16,441.35 and 1,831.98, respectively.
Shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. advanced 8.8 percent to $4.57 after the company and Macy’s Inc. said they’d settled Macy’s suit against Stewart’s company for breach of contract. Macy’s shares fell 1 cent to $53.39. Macy’s suit against J.C. Penney Co. Inc. is ongoing. Penney’s shares were down 3 percent to $8.88.
Shares of Urban Outfitters Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. rose 1.8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively, to $37.78 and $14.73 following upgrades to “buy” from “hold” by Jefferies analyst Randal Konik. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Aéropostale Inc., however, headed in the opposite direction after the analyst downgraded the stocks to “hold” from “buy.” Abercrombie was down 2.7 percent to $32.01 and Aéropostale was off 0.1 percent to $9.08.
Among the fashion, retail and beauty issues tracked by WWD, jeweler Birks Group Inc. enjoyed the strongest gain, bounding 9.9 percent to $1.67, while Sears Holdings Corp. weathered strongest decline, losing 4 percent to $47.08.
Europe’s markets all ended the day down, with Frankfurt’s DAX falling most, losing 1.6 percent to 9,400.04. The CAC 40 in Paris slipped 1.6 percent to 4,227.28, the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.5 percent to 6,717.91 and the FTSE MIB in Milan closed down 0.2 percent to 18,929.63.
Shares of a number of British retailers gained in value after privately held retailers John Lewis and department store chain House of Fraser both posted positive holiday trading figures.
John Lewis said its same-store sales rose 6.9 percent in the five weeks to Dec. 28, while House of Fraser said its same-store sales rose 7.3 percent in the three weeks to December 28, with its cash gross margins up 11.9 percent.
Shares of Next gained 1.5 percent to 55.30 pounds; Asos.com shot up 6 percent to 64.88 pounds and Debenhams rose 3 percent to 0.76 pounds.
But a number of stocks in the sector suffered losses. Hugo Boss was down 0.8 percent to 102.80 euros while Marks & Spencer fell 1.2 percent to 4.27 pounds; Mulberry dipped 1.4 percent to 9.41 pounds and Tod’s was down 1.7 percent to 119.40 euros.
The euro traded for $1.38 against the U.S. while the pound traded for $1.66.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"