Wall Street lost midday gains Wednesday, as investors worried that a half-point cut in interest rates would not be enough to fix an economic downturn.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average momentarily spiked 0.6 percent after the Federal Reserve announcement, but lost 0.3 percent for the day, closing at 12,440.96, while the S&P 500 fell 0.5 percent to 1,355.56.
After a short-lived rally retail shares sank, with the S&P Retail Index losing 1.1 percent to 405.46.
High-end department store Nordstrom Inc. dropped 3.8 percent to $36.73. Gap Inc. shed 3 percent to $18.32. Tween Brands fell 4.8 percent to close at $31.07, while teen retailer Aéropostale Inc. slid 2.5 percent to $26.12. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was one of the few retailers able to hang onto gains, ending the day up 0.3 percent to $49.14.
Action sports apparel retailer Zumiez Inc. jumped 2.8 percent to $17.80, while Coldwater Creek Inc. increased 3.8 percent to close at $5.72.
But the biggest gainer was Stein Mart Inc., soaring 10.1 percent to $6.08, after its chairman announced he would purchase 111,400 shares of the company.
Earlier in the day, the Fed lowered the benchmark federal funds rate to 3 percent, its second cut in two weeks.
In a release, the Fed said, "Today's policy action, combined with those taken earlier, should help to promote moderate growth over time and to mitigate the risks to economic activity. However, downside risks to growth remain."
Retailers and investors also are looking for a boost from an economic stimulus package being crafted in Washington that contains tax rebates aimed at putting money in consumers' hands by June. The Senate Finance Committee passed a $161.3 billion package Wednesday that is broader than a plan backed by President Bush and passed by the House on Tuesday.
The Senate bill could go to the full chamber for a vote by the end of the week. If the Senate passes its bill, the differences between the Senate and House measures will have to be reconciled in a conference committee before it can move to the president's desk. President Bush has said the bill could be delayed or derailed if the Senate makes too many changes to the compromise legislation he struck with House leaders.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye