Retail Shares End Brutal Week on Down Note

Friday slide puts decline for week at 9.1%.

Retail shares were unable to follow the lead of the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s late rally Friday and wound up off 6.2 percent for the week.
The S&P Retail Index logged its fourth negative session in five trading days, declining 4.07 points, or 1.8 percent, to 228.82. While still above the index’s 52-week, and all-time, low of 207.49, reached last Nov. 21, the reading is 9.1 percent below last Friday’s, 12 percent below where it was at the end of January and 18.1 percent below its 2008 endpoint.
Retail stocks during the week felt the weight not only of general economic turmoil and uncertainty about how to best arrest the damage to banks and other financial institutions, but also anemic February sales results, reported Thursday, and an assortment of fourth-quarter declines and losses from companies including Liz Claiborne Inc., Chico’s FAS Inc. and Urban Outfitters Inc.
On Friday, AnnTaylor Stores Corp. saw its shares evaporate 38.5 percent, to close at $3.41 after it reported a fourth-quarter loss well in excess of consensus estimates.
The Dow and the S&P 500 were able to reverse late-day slumps and, despite Friday’s report of continuing job losses, finished ahead of Thursday’s closing levels.
However, there was little comfort in the upticks. The Dow struggled to retake the 6,600 level, finishing 27 points above it, up 0.5 percent, but was down 6.2 percent during a week when it surrendered the 7,000 benchmark. The S&P 500 just made it back to positive territory with a 0.1 percent advance to 683.38, 7 percent below its close of 735.09 the previous Friday.
The Nasdaq Composite closed at 1,293.85, down 0.4 percent for the day and 6.1 percent for the week.