Retail shares finished a strong week with small gains.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 0.2 percent to 898.42, underperforming the broader market while still rising 1.4 percent for the week and cutting its decline for the year to 4.4 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.8 percent at 16,154.39 while the S&P 500 picked up 0.5 percent to 1,838.63. Both gained 2.3 percent during the course of the week, reducing their declines in 2014 to 2.6 and 0.5 percent, respectively.
Investors weren’t swayed by Thursday’s report of lower retail sales in January, content to attribute it to the wintry weather that has brought traffic nearly to a standstill in much of east, and were encouraged by the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey showing the metric unchanged since January.
Among U.S. fashion, retail and beauty issues tracked by WWD, Coty Inc. generated the largest increase, with shares up 7.4 percent to $14.74 after the company projected top-line improvement in the second half of the year after a difficult second quarter. Vera Bradley Inc. shares rose 2.7 percent to $24.83 while J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s shares closed above $6 for the first time in February with a 2.5 percent increase to $6.14.
However, shares of The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. receded 5.3 percent to $44.07 following Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc.’s agreement to purchase the parent of Eddie Bauer for $825 million in cash and stock. MW had been pursuing an acquisition of Bank, shares of which rose 0.4 percent to $55.12, through a tender offer to its shareholders.
VF Corp. fell short of analysts’ expectations for both fourth-quarter growth and 2014 guidance, sending its shares down 5.1 percent to $56.85, while Oxford Industries Inc. pulled back 3.7 percent on a fourth-quarter profit warning issued late Thursday. Sears Holdings Corp. shares closed down 4.6 percent at $41.44.
Major European markets were up for both the day and the week, with the CAC 40 in Paris and DAX in Frankfurt crossing into positive territory for the year. London’s FTSE 100 remains down for 2014 while the FTSE MIB in Milan had been ahead going into the week.
On the day, the FTSE MIB was up 1.6 percent to 20,436.47, the DAX gained 0.7 percent to 9,662.40, the CAC 40 rose 0.6 percent to 4,340.14 and the FTSE 100 picked up 0.1 percent to to 6,663.62. For the week, the DAX was up 3.9 percent, the FTSE MIB up 3.8 percent, the CAC 40 up 2.7 percent and the FTSE 100 up 1.4 percent.
Top performers for the day included French Connection, up 4.3 percent to 48 pence, and Tod’s, up 4.3 percent to 102.60 euros. Among those registering declines were Debenhams, 2 percent to 74 pence, and Luxottica, 1.5 percent to 38.85 euros.
The euro ended the week trading at $1.36 versus the U.S. dollar while the pound brought $1.66 in exchange.