By  on September 12, 2005

NEW YORK — After getting pounded by the expected negative impact of higher fuel costs on consumer spending, the WWD Composite Stock Index bounced back Friday, rising 3.7 percent to 1,117.17, which outpaced the S&P 500's 1.9 percent gain to 1,241.48.

Early last week, investors keyed in on several positive economic reports including a drop in oil futures as well as several analyst reports that predicted gas would drop and stabilize at the $3 per gallon mark. Also bolstering confidence on Wall Street was a report from the Institute for Supply Management that signaled expanding economic growth in the services sector.

On the business side, players in the mergers and acquisitions market continue to eye the retail sector. Investors are waiting for Saks Inc. to announce the sale of its northern department store group.

Speaking of M&A activity, Financo Inc. is sponsoring its second annual Merchandising Investors Conference this Thursday. This year, the focus is on how to identify investment opportunities in the merchandising sector. The seminar and cocktails will be held at The Harmonie Club, beginning at 4 p.m. Kip Tindell, president and chief executive officer of The Container Store, is the keynote speaker. Gilbert Harrison, chairman of Financo, will provide introductory remarks.

William S. Susman, Financo's president and chief operating officer, will moderate a panel on "Shopping for Deals in the Merchandising Sector: Entrepreneurs Discuss Winning Corporate Growth Strategies in the Merchandising Sector and How to Identify Investment Opportunities." Panel participants include: Laurence Franklin, president of Tumi; Dean Furbush, ceo of FreshDirect; Ron Hersh, ceo of Rosetti Handbags; Bryant Linares, president of Apollo Diamond, and Ari Zlotkin, ceo of Anne Fontaine.

The conference will provide attendees — mostly hedge funds, private equity firms and restructuring firms — with in-depth information about industry trends and growth strategies in the merchandising sector.

"With the continued interest by private equity firms in investing in retailing and other merchandising companies, this conference will present five private companies that have had their own experience and want to learn more about private equity investments," Harrison said.Separately, the Israel Discount Bank of New York said Terry Schwartz joined its corporate lending area as first vice president, "charged with account management and new middle market business development in New York and New Jersey." Previously, Schwartz served as vice president of new business development with CIT's Commercial Services. She was also a vice president at J.P. Morgan Chase.

Weekly % Changes
(Ending September 9)
Largest Gainers
Largest Losers
CloseChange  Close Change
Wilsons Leather6.8517.09A&F51.61-4.55
Harold's Stores1.2514.68Saks 20.58-3.92
Nordstrom36.88 11.42Gottschalks 9.33-3.32
Goody's7.44 8.45Wet Seal 4.60-2.95
Movado19.888.28New York & Co.15.48-2.95

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