U.S. retail stocks turned up after a down day on Wednesday even as the fourth-quarter earnings season began with a decline from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and, after market, Nordstrom.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry advanced 0.5 percent to 894.99 on a day that was noteworthy more for declines than advances.
Shares of American Apparel Inc. shed nearly a third of their value, declining 32 percent to 66 cents, following a Wall Street Journal report that the Los Angeles-based vertical retailer had retained Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, its outside corporate counsel, to explore restructuring options.
Shares of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. slid 5.8 percent to $5.65 and Wal-Mart’s shares shed 1.8 percent after it reported a decline in fourth-quarter earnings and provided tepid guidance for the new year.
Among the firm’s gaining market capitalization on the day was Nordstrom Inc. Shares were up 1 percent to 59.44 in advance of the firm’s report of fourth-quarter profits that were lower but stronger than the consensus estimate of analysts. Shares fell 1.1 percent to $59.44 in the first hour of after-hours trading.
Among the biggest gainers on the day were Coty Inc., up 3.1 percent to $14.55, and Quiksilver Inc., up 2.9 percent to $7.50. Vince Holding Corp. and The Men’s Wearhouse Inc. both gained 2.6 percent, to $26.13 and $44.98, respectively.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both gained 0.6 percent on the day to close at 16,133.23 and 1,839.78, respectively, brushing off a tepid morning session with afternoon gains.
Similarly, Europe’s markets were largely up at the close of trading after a negative start to the day.
The CAC 40 in Paris rose the most, climbing 0.3 percent to 4,355.49, followed by the FTSE 100 in London, up 0.2 percent to 6,812.99, while the FTSE MIB in Milan rose 0.1 percent to 20,452.28. Only the DAX in Frankfurt was down, falling 0.4 percent to 9,618.85.
It turned into a mixed day for fashion, luxury and retail stocks. Among the highest climbers were Aeffe, which rose 6.6 percent to 0.81 euros; Moncler, which gained 2.9 percent to 14.25 euros; Hennes & Mauritz, which rose 1.3 percent to 287.60 Swedish krona, and French Connection, up 2.8 percent to 55 pence.
Those in decline included Gemfields, which slipped 1.4 percent to 35 pence; Brunello Cucinelli, down 1.7 percent to 20.75 euros; Mulberry, which lost 2.1 percent to 6.63 pounds, and Ferragamo, down 1.2 percent to 23.07 euros.
The pound traded for $1.67 against the U.S. dollar, while the euro went for $1.38 and the Swedish krona for 15 cents.
Investors were buoyed by strong manufacturing data from the U.S., as Markit’s flash U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, released Thursday, stood at 56.7 in February, up from 53.7 in January, which Markit said marked the fastest overall improvement in U.S. manufacturing business conditions since May 2010.
Earlier in the day, weak data from China had sent Europe's markets down. HSBC’s Flash China manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, also released Thursday, stood at 48.3 in February, its lowest level in seven months.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast