Hopes for a better holiday weren’t enough to save retailers on Wall Street Tuesday morning.
Shares of L Brands Inc., Kohl’s Corp. and Target Corp. all suffered stock declines of more than 9 percent as investors looked past third-quarter sales gains — and in the case of L Brands’ Victoria’s Secret chain, a new leader — and worried over profits and the months ahead.
And those stocks were just the vanguard.
Of the 75 U.S. stocks tracked by WWD, only nine were gaining ground in morning trading as the market suffered a broad sell-off, which was led by the tech sector and left the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s nearly flat for the year.
One of those few bucking the trend was Urban Outfitters Inc., up 3.3 percent to $36.78, after the company reported rapid growth in all of its divisions.
Retailers have been on the rebound with high consumer confidence, low unemployment and a generally strong economy fueling projections for the holiday and washing away a disastrous 2017, when the industry was marred by slow foot traffic in malls and mass store closures.
Retailers are still largely expecting sales to gain for the holiday season, which unofficially kicks off with Black Friday sales this week. But the generally rosier outlook for retail, predicting that revenues would lead to strong profit gains, seems more in doubt to investors.
Among the hardest hit by the selling Tuesday were L Brands Inc., down 15 percent to $29.35; Target Corp., 10.4 percent to $69.74; Kohl’s Corp., 9.2 percent to $64.27; Dillard’s Inc., 6.1 percent to $62.85; Stitch Fix Inc., 5.6 percent to $23.42 and Macy’s Inc., 3.3 percent to $31.97.
The Dow Jones was off 1.7 percent, or 414.47 points, to 24,602.97, while the S&P 500 was down 1.7 percent, or 33.22 points, to 1,973.88.
Investor sentiment was the same around the world, with sharp sell offs in Europe and Asia as well.
The financial volatility is seen as a threat to the global economy, which is weakening outside the U.S. and is increasingly less able to handle shocks.
An analysis from economic forecasting firm IHS Global Insight said most economies around the world were expected to see weak or weaker growth for the next two years.
“The unsynchronized acceleration in U.S. growth is almost entirely due to fiscal stimulus,” IHS said. “This stimulus will wear off by late 2019 and early 2020, and the U.S. economy will join the others in seeing a significant loss of speed. Several factors have contributed to this less rosy global picture, including the gradual removal of liquidity, higher oil prices, and the elevated level of trade tensions — especially between the United States and mainland China. The recent surge in financial volatility — a de-facto tightening of financial conditions — is an unwelcome addition to these threats to global growth. Even without a full-blown bear market, the combined effects of policy uncertainty and large financial gyrations are hurting business sentiment and capital spending.”