The investment community marked the beginning of Janet Yellen’s tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve with a less than cheery reception.
Stocks on both sides of the Atlantic began the week with sharp declines spurred by a weak reading on U.S. manufacturing activity and continued trepidation about growth in emerging markets and corporate earnings.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group lost 2.5 percent to close at 845.77, worse than the 2.1 percent decline of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, to 15,372.80, and the S&P 500’s 2.3 percent decline, to 1,741.89. The retail index’s drop was the second largest of the year, just slightly less than Friday’s 2.6 percent slide, and left the index down 10 percent since the start of the year. It’s lost ground in 16 of 22 trading sessions in 2014.
U.S. markets fell at the opening bell on word that the Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index came in at 51.3 percent in January, down from 56.5 percent in December and below the 56 percent mark expected by analysts. Apparel, leather and allied products were among the manufacturing sectors contracting last month.
Yellen, confirmed by the Senate early last month, was sworn in to succeed Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman. Her term as the head of the central bank runs until February 2018.
The sharpest loss among fashion, retail and beauty stocks tracked by WWD came from The Men’s Wearhouse Inc., off 7.8 percent to $44.31, as Jos. A. Bank Inc.’s resistance to MW’s offer to acquire Bank through a $1.61 billion cash tender offer, expressed in a letter to MW’s board released Sunday, made a deal appear less likely. Bank shares also surrendered value, falling 5 percent to $53.39. The cash tender offer is for $57.50 a share. Large losses were also taken by shareholders of New York & Co. Inc., down 6.2 percent to $4.25, and Christopher & Banks Corp., down 6 percent to $6.71.
Among only a handful of stocks with gains, Vince Holding Corp. rose 1 percent to $23.59 and Joe’s Jeans Inc. was up 0.9 percent to $1.15.
Europe’s markets also weathered a broad sell-off, with the FTSE MIB in Milan down 2.6 percent to 18,907.16 and the CAC 40 in Paris off 1.4 percent to 4,107.75. The DAX declined 1.3 percent to 9,186.52 in Frankfurt while the FTSE 100 was off 1.1 percent to 6,465.66 in London. Of the four European markets, only Milan’s is up so far for the year.
Among the heaviest losses came from Brunello Cucinelli, down 5.7 percent to 19.10 euros; Aeffe, down 5.1 percent to 0.75 euros, and Prada, down 4.2 percent to 56.95 Hong Kong dollars.
Those with positive days included French Connection Group, up 5.7 percent to 37 pence, and Bonmarche Holding, up 1.6 percent to 2.87 pounds.
The euro traded for $1.36 against the U.S. dollar while the pound was spotted at $1.64 and the Hong Kong dollar at 12.9 cents.
“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