The reelection of President Obama freed Wall Street to worry in earnest about the looming fiscal cliff as well as the euro zone crisis and the general global economic malaise.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday sank back below 13,000, falling 2.4 percent, or 312.95 points, to 12,932.73 as the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group fared somewhat better, declining 1.5 percent, or 9.82 points, to 649.15.
Among the fashion and related companies getting hit the hardest were Tumi Holdings Inc., down 5.1 percent to $21.75; The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., 5 percent to $11.97; Elizabeth Arden Inc., 4.7 percent to $46.61; Tiffany & Co., 3.7 percent to $62.92, and Abercrombie & Fitch Co., 3.5 percent to $32.84.
Obama logged a decisive win in the electoral college, but still faces a divided legislative branch. Together the two sides will face automatic tax increases and spending cuts at the end of this year — what Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernanke dubbed the “fiscal cliff.” Should the taxes kick in without modification, many see dire consequences for the U.S. economy, which is already limping along and being propped up by Fed debt purchases and ultralow interest rates.
“The political landscape has changed little after the elections,” said Nigel Gault, IHS Global Insight’s chief U.S. economist. “Some uncertainties, over health care reform and the Federal Reserve, have been cleared up by President Obama’s reelection. But crucial uncertainties over fiscal policy remain just as severe as before.”
Gault noted the Obama victory means his health care program will stay in place and that there won’t be big changes at the Fed.
“But the key uncertainties over the future of fiscal policy remain in place,” he said. “Divided government, as before, could be a recipe for complete gridlock.”
Markets were also down in Europe, where investors were closely watching the U.S. election.
Milan’s FTSE MIB fell 2.5 percent to 15,291.78, as Frankfurt’s DAX declined 2 percent to 7,232.83, Paris’ CAC 40 dropped 2 percent to 3,409.59, and London’s FTSE 100 retreated 1.6 percent to 5,791.63.
The decliners included Burberry Group, down 2.8 percent to 12.17 pounds, or $19.45 at current exchange; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 2.4 percent to 125.90 euros, or $160.73; Marks and Spencer Group plc, down 2 percent to 3.91 pounds, or $6.25, and PPR, 1.8 percent to 134.20 euros, or $171.33.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
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@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty