U.S. retail stocks recorded their fifth consecutive positive trading session Thursday amid indications of at least a modest economic turnaround.
Just after trading closed in New York, the Federal Reserve raised the discount rate banks pay on short-term loans to 0.75 percent from 0.50 percent, effective today, a move intended to steer borrowers toward the private markets following the Fed’s unprecedented efforts to keep credit flowing and bolster the economy.
“These changes are intended as a further normalization of the Federal Reserve’s lending facilities,” the Fed said. “The modifications are not expected to lead to tighter financial conditions for households and businesses.”
The S&P Retail Index rose 3.12 points, or 0.8 percent, to 412.76, its highest close since Jan. 11 and its third straight above the 400 mark. The gain was a fraction behind the percentage pickup of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which rose 83.66 points, also 0.8 percent, to 10,392.90. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both gained 0.7 percent, and markets in the U.K., France, Germany, China and Japan all ascended, as well. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, however, declined 0.5 percent to 20,422.15.
The stock markets rallied on the increase in the manufacturing index of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve. The improvement in retail stocks came despite a down day for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The giant retailer’s shares fell 1.1 percent to $53.47 as a weak outlook offset higher fourth-quarter earnings.
Also on Thursday, The Conference Board reported that its Leading Economic Index rose 0.3 percent in January, lower than December’s 1.2 percent gain and the 1.1 percent boost in November, but still the 10th consecutive month of increases.
“The U.S. LEI has risen steadily for nearly a year, led by an improvement in financial markets and a manufacturing upturn,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, an economist at The Conference Board. “Consumer expectations and housing permits have also contributed to these gains over this period, but to a lesser extent — especially in recent months.”
With Thursday’s advance, the S&P Retail Index is up slightly this year, ahead of its 411.12 close of Dec. 31.
Shares of Walgreen Co. increased 50 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $34.69 a day after the chain said it would acquire New York-based drugstore Duane Reade for $1.08 billion. The stock advanced despite Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services’ decision to put its credit ratings, including its “A-plus” corporate credit rating, on CreditWatch with negative implications because of the pending deal and its potential dilutive effect on the buyer’s earnings. S&P said any downgrade would be limited to a single notch.
Ratings in the “A” family possess a strong ability to meet financial commitments.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)
@heriethpaul and @gracebol have a moment on the @victoriassecret fashion show 2017. See every look from the runway on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo) #wwdfashion #victoriassecret #VSFashionShow
“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