By  on April 25, 2005

NEW YORK — A mixed bag of earnings reports outside the retail sector last week spurred investors to sell shares and remain cautious even with a huge rally on Thursday.

As a result, the WWD Composite Stock Index continued its downward spiral after the prior week’s dramatic plunge, sliding 1.3 percent to close at 1,063.35 from 1,077.67.

The S&P 500 reflected the week’s roller-coaster ride, ending at 1,152.11, a slight increase of 0.81 percent from the prior week.

Of the companies reporting sales and earnings in the retail and fashion sectors, results were mixed.

Kenneth Cole Productions reported increased revenue and net income for its first quarter ended March 31. The company posted a 1.3 percent increase in net income to $7.49 million from $7.39 million in the year-ago quarter. First-quarter earnings per diluted share were 37 cents, which was consistent with expectations. Although comparable store sales declined 5.8 percent from the same quarter last year, net revenue jumped 6.1 percent to $129.9 million from $122.4 million last year.

Kenneth Cole expects to meet second-quarter forecasts of 38 cents a share, with full-year EPS between $2 and $2.06. Following the quarterly report, shares of Kenneth Cole rose 3.2 percent to $30.15 at Friday’s close.

Meanwhile, Bebe Stores delivered third-quarter earnings that more than doubled to $11.1 million from $5.5 million a year ago on revenue that rose to $116.9 million from $83.6 million. The Brisbane, Calif., women’s apparel retailer reported earnings of 18 cents a share, lower than the 21 cents a share expected by analysts. In turn, shares of Bebe dropped 8.5 percent to close at $32.51 on Friday.

In the warehouse club channel, Costco Wholesale warned that the company expected to miss third- and fourth-quarter earnings estimates because of gross margin erosion and high gasoline prices. Costco shares tumbled 8.7 percent to close at $40.17 on Friday.

Costco’s gloomy forecast affected Wal-Mart, already hurting from a Federal grand jury investigation regarding alleged misspending within the company. Shares for the megaretailer dropped 2 percent to $46.81.Concerns over market volatility and rising gasoline prices is likely to continue to make investors wary of stocks, said analysts.

Weekly % Changes Ending April 22
Largest Gainers
Largest Losers
 CloseChange Close Change
Harold's Stores1.1610.48
United Retail
True Religion14.40 10.34
Hot Topic
Ann Taylor24.435.30
Wet Seal

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