By  on July 20, 2010

Retail stocks rose 0.4 percent Monday, making up some of the ground lost in Friday’s 3.3 percent drop.

There’s little indication the still-depressed markets are ready to take a decisive move up, as early second-quarter reports from major banks have painted a somewhat mixed picture of the economy. And investors are waiting for retailers to weigh in with their outlooks for the rest of the year when they report second-quarter results next month. Investors are also keeping a close eye on consumers, who have had their confidence shaken by continued weakness in employment.

The S&P Retail Index rose 1.64 points on Monday to 392.22. The sector has not turned in two consecutive days of gains since June 14 and 15, when the index closed at 441.69. The Dow Jones Industrial Average kicked off the week with a 0.6 percent, or 56.53 point, gain to 10,154.43.

Monday’s fashion gainers included Macy’s Inc., up 2.2 percent to $17.53; The Warnaco Group Inc., 1 percent to $36.81; Gap Inc., 0.9 percent to $18.29, and Urban Outfitters Inc., 0.8 percent to $32.21.

Offering some encouragement for the second half, an online survey by PriceGrabber, part of the shopping Web site Experian, found that back-to-school shoppers of all ages plan to buy more apparel than a year ago.

“The trends we are seeing in shoppers’ back-to-school clothing purchases this year indicate that, although they continue to be focused on budget-minded spending, older students in particular are expanding their wardrobes, which would indicate a shift toward discretionary clothing purchases,” said Laura Conrad, president of PriceGrabber.

Asian and European markets were generally down.

The Nikkei 225 fell 2.9 percent to 9,408.36 in Tokyo as the Hang Seng Index slipped 0.8 percent to 20,090.95 in Hong Kong. The DAX decreased 0.5 percent to 6,009.11 in Frankfurt as the CAC 40 dropped 0.4 percent to 3,486.33 in Paris and the FTSE 100 slipped 0.2 percent to 5,148.28 in London.

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