Retail shares rose Wednesday morning only to lose ground in the afternoon and end up where they just about started as investors waited for after market earnings reports from Limited Brands and Hot Topic. In what proved to be a mixed trading session overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.6 percent, or 68.88 points, to 11,417.43 as the S&P 500 also inched up 0.6 percent, or 7.85 points, to 1,274.54 despite continued concerns about the fate of government-backed mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Shares in the S&P Retail Index ended the day down only 0.04 points to 383.08. Saks Inc., which on Tuesday morning posted wider quarterly losses, registered a 3.6 percent decline for the day and was joined on the downside

by Macy’s, which was off 3.2 percent, and Nordstrom, down 2.1 percent. Ross Stores, after posting better quarterly sales and profits, saw its stock dip 0.9 percent. Investors will continue to get retail report cards today, including quarterly results from Gap and Pacific Sunwear of California after the market closes. So far, the takeaway for the second quarter seems to be that life is good if you’re Wal-Mart Stores or an off-pricer, but tough if you’re almost anyone else. Shares of a number of vendors perked up for the day, including G-III Apparel Group, which posted a 7.6 percent rise after scoring the Calvin Klein better sportswear license. Other gainers included Jones Apparel Group, up 1.7 percent, and Liz Claiborne, up 1.4 percent.

* Editor’s note: European stocks are quoted in the currency of their principal exchanges. Shares on the London Stock Exchange are quoted in pence, Richemont and The Swatch Group are quoted in Swiss francs and Hennes & Mauritz is quoted in Swedish kronor. All other European stocks are in euros.

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