A lower U.S. unemployment rate helped stabilize equity markets Friday, pushing retail stocks up 0.2 percent for the day after a tough week stoked by government debt concerns in Europe.
The S&P Retail Index advanced 0.65 points to 392.84 Friday, making the decline for last week 1.2 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.1 percent, or 10.05 points, to 10,012.23, a 0.5 percent drop for the week.
AnnTaylor Stores Corp. turned in the week’s best performance with a 16.6 percent jump to $14.65 after the retailer said better sales would help it top fourth-quarter profit projections.
Investors spent most of the week worrying over the creditworthiness of Greece, Portugal and Spain. Last week, the CAC 40 fell 4.7 percent to 3,563.76 in Paris and the FTSE 100 retreated 2.5 percent to 5,060.92 in London.
Debt watchdog Standard & Poor’s said the economic downturn was testing the credit quality of Europe’s local and regional government.
“The impact has been significant, with negative rating actions largely exceeding positive ones in 2009,” S&P said. “Yet, the effect of the crisis has differed by region or country, in our view. Spanish [local and regional governments] are those more severely hit and where we still expect to see negative rating actions across the board in 2010.”
S&P said the 142 local governments it rates in 22 European countries were generally healthy from a credit perspective and the regions with speculative-grade ratings were in Central and Eastern Europe, primarily Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria.
Markets finally found their footing Friday when the U.S. reported its unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent from 10 percent instead of advancing to the expected 10.1 percent.
“The radical shift to risk aversion in the past several weeks…pushed down commodity prices and benchmark bond yields to levels that have not been seen in months, while the U.S. dollar was sent soaring,” IHS Global Insight U.S. economists Brian Bethune and Nigel Gault said in an analysis. “The silver lining to this latest convulsion in the financial markets is that any residual risks of inflation in the U.S. have been fully annihilated for the near future.”
The economists said interest rates would remain at “exceptionally low levels for some time.”
This week, investors will get fresh readings on the U.S. trade balance Wednesday, retail sales Thursday and consumer confidence Friday.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)