U.S. equity markets ended Tuesday’s trading session on an up note, boosted by strength in housing and consumer confidence data.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index showed home prices rose in December, while the Consumer Confidence Index gained in February compared with January’s decline. Also, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Tuesday that economic growth has picked up this year, despite high levels of unemployment and fiscal uncertainty in Washington.
In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke said the economy has continued to “expand at a moderate if somewhat uneven pace.”
“The pause in real GDP last quarter does not appear to reflect a stalling-out of the recovery,” Bernanke told the committee, as he delivered the Fed’s semiannual monetary policy report to Congress. “Rather, economic activity was temporarily restrained by weather-related disruptions and by transitory declines in a few volatile categories of spending, even as demand by U.S. households and businesses continued to expand.”
He said the recent increase in gasoline prices is “hitting family budgets,” although overall inflation remains low. The Fed is anticipating the overall inflation rate will run at or below its 2 percent target in the medium term.
Bernanke defended the Fed’s $85 billion bond-buying program aimed at keeping interest rates low to spur economic growth.
“Notably, keeping longer-term interest rates low has helped spark recovery in the housing market and led to increased sales and production of automobiles and other durable goods,” Bernanke said. “By raising employment and household wealth — for example through higher home prices — these developments have in turn supported consumer sentiment and spending.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8 percent to 13,900.13, while the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group increased 1.5 percent to 692.47.
Among the retailers that posted gains were Christopher & Banks Corp., up 5.8 percent to $6.04, and Zale Corp., which rose 5.7 percent to $4.11. Other gainers include Stage Stores Inc., up 4.9 percent to $24.08, and Tiffany & Co., rising 3.1 percent to $66.01.
Elsewhere the major global indices posted a down day in their trading sessions.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 2.3 percent to 11,398.81, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was down 1.3 percent to 22,519.69.
The FTSE MIB in Milan was down 4.9 percent to 15,552.20, while the CAC 40 in Paris sank 2.7 percent to 3,621.92. The DAX in Frankfurt fell 2.3 percent to 7,597.11, while the FTSE 100 in London retreated 1.3 percent to 6,270.44.
Italy’s two-day, parliamentary election ended with the center-left bloc winning the lower house, but failing to secure a majority in the Senate.
Control of both houses is needed to govern the country, which is mired in recession and pursuing a program of austerity measures. It is now up to the parties with the biggest majorities to form a coalition government, which will most likely be weak, or for the country to call a fresh round of elections.
Among the stocks that lost the most ground was Mulberry Group, which was down 3.4 percent to 13.52 pounds, following Panmure Gordon’s reiteration of its hold rating on the stock earlier this week.
PPR sank 2.8 percent to 166.95 euros; L’Oréal was down 2.4 percent to 111.95 euros; Inditex fell 2.5 percent to 101.05 euros; and Carrefour was down 2.6 percent to 20.30 euros.
@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)