Stocks are slightly above breakeven in the early session as oil prices pull back once again, dropping more than 2 percent to trade at $47 a barrel.
Sequential Brands Group appointed Andrew Cooper as president reporting to chief executive officer Yehuda Shmidman. Cooper has served as a partner at Pegasus Capital Advisors and prior to that launched vacation packages at Priceline.com. Cooper seems to have a lot of vacation product experience, but little apparel experience. William Sweedler, chairman of Sequential said that Cooper would strengthen the company’s infrastructure and maximize productivity. He was recruited through a process conducted by Tengram Capital Partners, a company cofounded by Sweedler. Sequential Brands stock has fallen more than 50 percent for the past year and was lately trading at $7.06.
L Brands Inc. is moving higher this morning by 1 percent to $78.71 after being upgraded to buy from neutral at Goldman, Sachs & Co. The target price was also raised to $94 from $73. Goldman Sachs thinks that L Brands will begin to anniversary the changes it has made to restructure the business. Oppenheimer Holdings also upgraded L Brands to outperform from market perform on Friday and raised the target price to $90 from $75.
Moody’s Investor Services released a report suggesting that student loan debts are going to hurt U.S. retailers. Moody’s estimates that the ballooning debt results in about $160 million in annual payments and the delinquency rates are rising. Most of the debt is held by individuals who are 30 to 39 years old. Typically, this is the largest spending group. Moody’s believes this is why discounters like The TJX Cos. Inc. and Ross Stores Inc. are so popular with the group.