The stock market underwent tremendous selling pressure after the European Central Bank disappointed investors and Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen made remarks that indicated the Fed is ready to raise rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped almost 300 points for a time, but then trimmed that loss and ended up closing down 250 points to 17,479. The S&P 500 broke its 200-day moving average and is now in the red for the year. It dropped 29 points to close at 2,049. The Nasdaq fell 85 points to end the day at 5,037.
First, the lack of new stimulus from the ECB was taken negatively on the global equity markets, causing the German DAX to drop over 480 points, which is now down over 5.5 percent in the last three days.
The S&P Retail ETF slid over 1 percent to $43.94 and is down over 8 percent year-to-date. Even retailers with good news weren’t spared from the selling. Express reported solid third quarter earnings and initially saw its stock rise, but then as the selling gained steam, its stock succumbed and fell over 6 percent to $16.25.
Aeropostale dropped over 23 percent to trade near 45 cents following Wednesday’s earnings announcement about revenue declining 20 percent. Pacific Sunwear of California fell over 22 percent to trade at roughly 28 cents a share even though it beat analyst estimates on earnings and revenues. Urban Outfitters declined over 6 percent to close at $20.98 and Vera Bradley fell over 7 percent to settle at $11.39.
A handful of retailers managed to close the day on a positive note. New York & Company gained over 9 percent to close at $2.34. The retailer missed its earnings estimate for the quarter, but beat on revenues. Destination Maternity managed to jump over 12 percent to $6.32 even though the retailer reported a third quarter loss. The company’s president is leaving as it restructures.
Avon is continuing to move higher after Wednesday’s Oprah rumor. Oprah Winfrey denied she was buying the company, but that hasn’t stopped investors from continuing to buy the stock, pushing it up over 6 percent to $3.99 as The Wall Street Journal reported the beauty retailer might be in talks with Cerburus about a deal. Macy’s rose 1 percent to end the day at $38.98 and Kohl’s jumped over 2 percent to $47.39.
Following the close, Zumiez reported earnings of 36 cents with total net sales dropping by 4.2 percent to $204.3 million and comparable sales decreased 7.3 percent versus last year’s increase of 3.7 percent. The company said that the fourth quarter is off to a slow start and has a cautious outlook for fiscal 2015. Zumiez stock had fallen over 6 percent to $13.90 ahead of the announcement, but saw a modest increase in the after hours trading.
Ulta delivered third-quarter earnings of $1.11 a share, beating the analyst estimate of $1.05. Net sales increased 22.1 percent to $910.7 million, up from $745.7 million and easily topping the expected sales figure of $880 million. Sales for the fourth quarter are forecast to be in the range of $1.212 billion to $1.233 billion, versus last year’s fourth quarter sales of $1.047 billion. The stock is jumping in after-market trading on the solid quarter.
The Gap Inc. reported its November same-store sales after the market closed. Net sales decreased 9 percent compared to a 6 percent increase last year. Old Navy, which had been the silver lining, saw its sale drop 9 percent versus last year’s increase of 18 percent. Banana Republic continued to melt down with a negative 19 percent in sales, versus a positive 2 percent last year. Gap Global fell 4 percent, the same as last year’s drop of 4 percent. Gap stock was dropping in after-market trading.