A weak jobs report was a sign to investors that the Federal Reserve would probably not raise interest rates in the near future pushing stocks higher in the early trading session.
The S&P 500 is higher by 9 points to 2,180, the Dow Jones Industrial is rising by 96 points to 18,515 and the Nasdaq is gaining 19 points to trade at 5,246. The S&P Retail ETF is adding 5 cents to sell at $44.26.
The August nonfarm payroll report saw an addition of 150,000 jobs in the month of August, a big miss from the expectation for an additional 180,000 jobs. The good news is that it’s the 71st consecutive month of job gains, the longest streak on record. Department stores and specialty stores continue to drop employees, while general merchandise stores boosted its ranks of workers.
Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties won the auction for the Aeropostale assets and plan to keep the 229 stores open. The bankrupt teen retailer has lately accused its lender Sycamore Partners of pushing it into Chapter 11 in order to acquire it for a bargain price, but the judge denied the claim. The acquirers, which included Gordon Brothers Retail Partners and Hilco Merchant Resources, agreed to pay $250 million. Sycamore seemed pleased to have its debt repaid and wished the new owners success with the brand.
Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s second quarter was solid with sales rising 14 percent to $514 million and net income growing 12 percent to $53.6 million. That wasn’t good enough for its demanding investors and the stock is falling over 7 percent to $71.17. While comp sales did increase 4 percent, this wasn’t as good as last year’s increase of 6 percent. The company gave guidance for future sales and earnings that leaned towards the lower end of the estimated range. Investors were hoping for a much stronger increase in sales and a more robust forecast. The disappointment caused the stock selloff.
Bebe Stores Inc. seems to have welcomed back its sexy part girl customer as the specialty retailer posted fourth quarter net income of $25.1 million, which an improvement over last year’s loss of $5.2 million. Comparable store sales improved sequentially during the quarter. Net sales, though, fell 9 percent to $94.9 million. The stock was flat at 66 cents.
Gap Inc., one of the remaining retailers to post monthly sales, probably wishes it wasn’t. Only sales at Old Navy rose 1 percent, while sales at Gap Global fell 5 percent and Banana Republic can’t seem to find a customer with its sales plunging 10 percent. It hasn’t been a good week for Gap with its New York distribution center catching fire. The retailer is rerouting inventory and increasing staff at other distribution facilities to make up for the loss. Gap stock is falling by 1 percent to $24.32.