U.S. stocks declined following a downward revision in fourth-quarter gross domestic product but still finished February with some of the best gains of the last three years.
The WWD Global Stock Tracker rose 0.3 percent to 114.34, a record high and its sixth gain in as many sessions, putting it ahead 1.3 percent for the week and 4.4 percent for the month.
Stocks slumped Friday after the Commerce Department revised its call on fourth-quarter growth in GDP to 2.2 percent from 2.6 percent.
While many of the companies that reported results before and after the close of the markets on Thursday scored big gains as the week and month ended, J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s unexpected loss in the fourth quarter and its modest expectations for margin improvement in 2015 pushed its shares down 6.8 percent to $8.50 for the largest decline among tracker equities.
On the other hand, Ross Stores Inc., which scored an easy earnings beat and opted for a two-year, $1.4 billion stock repurchase plan late Thursday, scored the biggest gain of the day among tracker stocks, rising 6.8 percent to $105.82. Sears Holdings Corp., which declined the most among the 100 tracker stocks Thursday after it reported a lower fourth-quarter loss along with comparable sales declines, bounced back with a 4.3 percent increase to $37.60 for the second largest gain of the day.
Third among the stocks advancing was Ann Inc., ahead 3.3 percent to $35.91, followed by Gap Inc., up 3.1 percent to $41.60; Abercrombie & Fitch Co., up 3 percent to $24.74, and Kohl’s Corp., up 2.9 percent to $73.80.
Gap and Kohl’s reported better-than-expected profits and authorized additional stock buybacks on Thursday. Abercrombie is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter results on Wednesday.
After Penney’s, the next three largest declines among tracker stocks originated in Asia. Anta Sports Products Ltd. was off 5.5 percent to 15.60 Hong Kong dollars, or $2.01 at current exchange; Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group 5.4 percent to 9.01 Hong Kong dollars, or $1.16, and Esprit Holdings 3.4 percent to 8.02 Hong Kong dollars, or $1.03.
Compagnie Financière Richemont shares were off 2.5 percent to 84 Swiss francs, or $88.14.
While stocks struggled in January as oil prices slumped and the future of the European Union was called into question over the rise of Greece’s anti-austerity party Syriza, they enjoyed their best month in three years as oil and the political situation in Greece stabilized.
Despite declines to end the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 5.6 percent in February and the S&P 500 ahead 5.5 percent. In Europe, the FTSE MIB in Milan was up 9 percent for the month, the CAC 40 in Paris up 7.5 percent, the DAX in Frankfurt up 6.6 percent and the FTSE 100 in London up 5.8 percent.
In Asia, Toklyo’s Nikkei 225 was up 6.4 percent in February versus Shanghai’s SSE Composite Index’s 3.1 percent increase and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index’s 1.3 percent rise.