After earlier gains, Europe’s major indices all closed down when they ended Wednesday’s trading sessions. The FTSE 100 in London dipped 0.1 percent to 5,507.40, while the CAC 40 in Paris was down 1 percent to 3,071.08. The DAX in Frankfurt fell 2 percent to 5,771.27, and the FTSE MIB in Milan slipped 0.9 percent to 14,796.55.
Although a successful auction of Italy’s debt earlier on Wednesday initially boosted Europe’s markets, the effect petered out by the end of the day. The Italian government auctioned 9 billion euros’ worth of six-month bills at a yield of 3.25 percent, half the borrowing costs the country had paid on its debt in November. But investors were still said to be concerned over the performance of Italy’s longer-term debt, which is set to be auctioned today. Meanwhile, the borrowing costs on Italy’s 10-year bonds were still high at 7 percent, which is viewed as an unsustainable level for the country.
In earlier trading Wednesday in Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 ended unchanged at 8,423.62, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 0.6 percent to 18,518.67.
The U.S. markets were impacted by news from the European Central Bank stating that banks placed $590.72 billion with the ECB overnight, an indication that European banks would rather earn low interest rates than lend to one another, even on a short-term basis. That news pushed the euro down to $1.294, the lowest level against the dollar in 11 months.
In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1 percent to 12,151.41. The S&P Retail Index was also down 1.1 percent, to 524.47.
Most U.S. retail stocks fell during a day of relatively light trading, including Sears Holdings Corp., which said Tuesday it would close between 100 and 120 Kmart and Sears full-line stores as it attempts to rejigger operations to cut losses and restore profitability. Shares of Sears fell 0.2 percent, or 5 cents, to close at $33.33.
Other retail losers were Abercrombie & Fitch Co., which saw its shares fall 2.4 percent, or $1.19, to $47.99. Shares of Bebe Stores Inc. declined 2.1 percent, or 18 cents, to $8.29. Shares of teen retailer Hot Topic Inc. were down 3 percent, or 21 cents, to $6.82.
Among department stores, shares of Macy’s Inc. rose 1.2 percent, or 39 cents, to $32.67, while Kohl’s Corp. ticked up .4 percent, or 22 cents, to $50.09. Another gainer was J.C. Penney Co. Inc., whose shares rose 0.1 percent, or 5 cents, to $35.34.
One surprise was American Apparel Inc., whose shares rose nearly 2 percent, or 1 cent, to 76 cents. The biggest gainer for the over-the-counter trading session was Bluefly Inc., up 21.1 percent, or 35 cents, to $2.
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)