Stocks ended the first month of the year on a decidedly downbeat note as a disappointing report on fourth-quarter GDP in the U.S. pressured equities.

The WWD Global Stock Tracker, a composite of 100 international fashion, retail and beauty securities, lost 1.5 percent on Friday, the largest decline since its July 8 launch, to close at 109.50. While down 1.3 percent for the week, it remains 1.3 percent ahead of its 2014 close.

After rallying on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 251.90 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 17,164.95 while the S&P 500 was off 26.26 points, or 1.3 percent, to again fall below 2,000 to 1,994.99. That put the Dow’s weekly decline at 2.8 percent and its loss for the month at 3.7 percent while the S&P shed 2.8 percent for the week and suffered a 3.1 percent drop in January.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was up 0.2 percent to 1,030.30 and ahead 0.4 percent for the week, limiting the monthly damage to 0.2 percent.
Although investors saw something they’d been looking for all of January — an increase in crude oil futures — weaker-than-expected earnings reports continued to weigh on market capitalizations.

Perhaps more critically, the strength of the U.S. recovery came into question as the Commerce Department reported a 2.6 percent increase in fourth-quarter gross domestic product, below both economists’ expectations and the 5 percent growth rate reported for the third quarter, which had been the strongest quarterly GDP performance in a decade.

European markets struggled as well. London’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.9 percent to 6,749.40, down 1.2 percent for the week while up 2.8 percent for the month. The CAC 40 in Paris was down 0.6 percent for the day to 4,604.25, 0.8 percent below its market last Friday but 7.8 percent ahead of its final mark of 2014. Frankfurt’s DAX lost 0.4 percent, ending the month at 10,694.32, reducing is weekly gain to 0.4 percent and its monthly advance to 9.1 percent.

The largest decline among tracker stocks came from Brunello Cucinelli SpA, down 6.6 percent to 18.22 euros, or $20.63 at current exchange. Majority shareholder Fedone Srl said Thursday that it had completed the placement of a 5.1 percent stake in the company to institutional investors at a price of 18 euros a share, a discount to its closing stock price on Thursday.

Guess Inc. shares were off 4.9 percent to $18.78 for the second largest loss of the day, followed by Oxford Industries Inc.’s 4.7 percent decline to $55.94 and Coach Inc.’s 4.5 percent skid to $37.19.

Youngor Group Co. shares were down 4.2 percent to 12.19 yuan, or $1.95, while Hanesbrands Inc. lost 4 percent to close at $111.38. Hanesbrands on Thursday projected 2015 earnings within the range of analysts’ consensus estimates with sales below them. It also increased its quarterly dividend one-third to 40 cents a share and declared a 4-for-1 stock split.

All but one of the top five gainers on the tracker came out of Asia, led by Shiseido Co.’s 4.1 percent rise to 1,898 yen, or $16.05. Luen Thai Holdings Ltd. rose 3.5 percent to 1.50 Hong Kong dollars, or 19 cents, and American Apparel Inc rose 2.3 percent to 89 cents.

Onward Holdings Co. and Global Brands Group were up 2.1 percent each, with Onward hitting 762 yen, or $6.44, and Global ascending to 1.47 Hong Kong dollars, or 19 cents.


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