A weaker than expected reading on private payrolls last month weighed on Wall Street today, but retail stocks continued to chug along, closing at a new all-time high.
The S&P Retail Index rose 0.9 percent, or 5.90 points, to 655.72, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 10.75 points to 13,268.57.
In a positive sign for the retail deal-making environment, shares of Ascena Retail Group Inc. rose 10.4 percent to $21.06 after the company inked a deal to acquire Charming Shoppes Inc. for $7.35 a share. It's not uncommon for a company taking on the challenges of an acquisition to see its stock drop on the news. Charming Shoppes' shares increased 23.9 percent to $7.31.
So far this year, there have been 62 deals announced in the apparel and footwear retail sector globally, carrying a total value of $3.66 billion, according to Dealogic. That's about the same number of deals seen at this time last year, but just over twice the value.
Also gaining ground was American Eagle Outfitters, which boosted first-quarter earnings guidance to 18 cents to 20 cents a diluted share, up from the 8 cents to 10 cents previously projected. The stock jumped 16.8 percent to $20.90.
Outside of retail, the mood wasn't so cheery.
The ADP National Employment Report showed U.S. nonfarm private payrolls rose 119,000 in April from March, well below the 180,000 gain economists expected.
"While April’s increase was the 27th consecutive monthly advance, it nonetheless reflected a deceleration in the recent pace of hiring," said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers. "This deceleration seems consistent with other incoming data, including a disappointingly weak report on first-quarter gross domestic product, a recent back-up in initial unemployment claims, and last month’s relatively weak reading on establishment employment reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics."
In Europe, markets were mixed as unemployment in the euro zone hit a record high and construction growth in the U.K. slowed.
The FTSE MIB in Milan logged the sharpest drop, falling 2.6 percent to 14,213.17, followed by the FTSE 100, which tumbled 0.9 percent to 5,758.11. The DAX in Frankfurt sank 0.8 percent to 6,710.77.
The only market that closed on an upswing was the CAC 40 in Paris, which was up 0.4 percent to 3,226.33.
The biggest gainers included Burberry Group, up 2.2 percent to 15.15 pounds; Luxottica Group, 3.1 percent to 27.88 euros; Mulberry Group, 2.4 percent to 24.17 pounds; and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 2.6 percent to 128.40 euros.
Losing ground were Ferragamo, which sank 6.6 percent to 17.25 euros; Geox, 3 percent to 2.36 euros, and Milan Bourse newcomer, Brunello Cucinelli, which after debuting with a bang on Friday, dropped 3.9 percent to close at 11.53 euros.
The euro traded at $1.32, while the pound traded at $1.62.
Unemployment in the Euro zone reached a record high in March of 10.9 percent, according to Eurostat, Europe’s statistics office. More than 3 million of the 17.4 million people looking for work are under the age of 25.
In the UK, the Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers index fell to 55.8, signaling a slowdown in growth in April compared with march. The index measures activity in the construction sector, and the slowdown helped to nudge the U.K. back into recession last month.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)