Stocks pulled back again Thursday as Wall Street turned its attention to Washington and its stewardship of the economy, but retail stocks escaped the worst of the damage.
The S&P Retail Index backtracked 1.83 points, or 0.5 percent, settling below 400 at 398.34, but outperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which declined 115.70 points, or 1.1 percent, to 10,120.46, and the S&P 500, down 12.97 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,084.53. Weak readings on the tech sector sent the Nasdaq Composite down 42.41 points, or 1.9 percent, to 2,179.00.
The markets were already closed when word arrived the Senate had confirmed Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke for a second term on a vote of 70 to 30, but had time earlier in the day to absorb President Obama’s State of the Union address, delivered to Congress on Wednesday night.
Although the Fed chairman had come under steady fire for his role in the federal government’s $700 billion bailout of banks and financial firms, questions about his reappointment — and about just how far Obama would go to regulate the financial sector — had applied downward pressure on stocks throughout the week. Although Bernanke’s likely reconfirmation didn’t stabilize stocks on Thursday, it helped limit the breadth of the sell-off.
Still, critics are certain to keep a sharp eye on Bernanke after blaming him for failing to see the looming financial crisis which brought economic activity to a near standstill in September 2008.
President Obama today is set to propose two separate tax cuts for small businesses, following up on a pledge in his State of the Union address, according to the White House.
The first tax break will come in the form of a $5,000 credit for every new employee hired. The total amount of the credit for any one firm will be capped at $500,000 and start-ups will be eligible for the tax credit. Companies will be able to claim the credit on a quarterly basis.
The President will also propose to reimburse Social Security payroll taxes to small businesses that increase wages or hours for their employees. However, small businesses will be deemed ineligible for either tax break if they reduce employment payrolls in 2010.
During his speech Wednesday night, Obama proposed a new small business tax credit, which he said would go to more than 1 million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages.
The strongest performer among the 172 firms tracked by WWD was Destination Maternity Corp., shares of which advanced 11.3 percent, to $23.78, after the firm reported an unexpected first-quarter profit.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)