U.S. retail and other consumer discretionary stocks got a boost at the opening bell as crude oil jumped nearly 3 percent to $34.03.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 73 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,746 while the S&P 500 also gained 0.4 percent to 1,960. The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Index jumped 0.2 percent at the open to 1,203.
The retail segment got a big boost by J.C. Penney Co, which was up 14.1 percent at the open to $9.54 after it reported better-than-expected quarterly results amid a weaker competitive landscape. Other notable gainers at the open included Dillard’s Inc.’s 2 percent gain to $83.84; Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s 2.9 percent jump to $68.57, and Bebe Stores Inc.’s 3.7 percent increase to 45 cents.
On the declining side were Gap Inc., down 3.8 percent to $26.56; Ralph Lauren Corp. with a 2.6 percent drop to $89.54; Pacific Sunwear of California Inc.’s 2.4 percent decline to 20 cents, and Finish Line Inc. with a 2.2 percent to decrease to $18.05.
Ralph Lauren’s stock was down following an after-market announcement that Christopher Peterson, president of global brands was leaving the company effective May 31.
Separetely, G-III Apparel Group Ltd. rose 2.6 percent at the open to $51.43 following the news, first reported by WWD, that the company took a 19 percent stake in Karl Lagerfeld.
In the moderate department store segment, Kohl’s Corp.’s report of below-plan same-store sales and store closures didn’t surprise Wall Street. Indeed, analysts at Telsey Advisory Group reiterated an “outperform” rating on the stock, and a $54 price target.
Meanwhile, Sears Holdings Corp. was regaining some losses after posting weak results earlier this week. The stock was up 0.2 percent to $17.55 at the bell. Management noted that apparel would be a priority this year, and chairman and chief executive officer Edward Lampert told shareholders in a letter that e-commerce would also be a priority. And mobile commerce as well.
“We are seeing a significant increase in engagement from our members through our mobile platform,” Lampert said. “Last year mobile’s share of Sears’ online sales increased 100 percent year-over-year. More than a third of our online traffic in 2015 came from a mobile phone, a 46 percent increase from the previous year. We continued to make investments in our digital capabilities and refreshed our mobile apps to enhance existing shopping conveniences as well as offer new services.”