Happy nonfarm payroll day. U.S. employers added 156,000 jobs last month, but the number missed economists estimate for 172,000. The August report was revised higher by 15,000. Another good data point was the increase of average hourly earnings by 0.2 percent, bringing the past 12 months’ total wage increase to 2.6 percent.
The S&P 500 is falling by 3 points to 2,157, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 19 points to 18,249 and the Nasdaq declined 3 points to trade at 5,303. The S&P Retail ETF added 19 cents to sell at $44.08.
Florida is being buffeted by Hurricane Matthew with the Weather Channel reporting half a million people without power after the storm hit the coast today. Matthew is expected to slide up the coast before going back out to sea and then turning back to hit Florida once again. Disney World closed for the first time in 11 years, flights are canceled and people are staying indoors.
Ralph Lauren Corp.’s shares are rising more than 2 percent to $103.75 as Goldman Sachs added the fashion house to its Conviction Buy list and following news broken by WWD that David Lauren has been named vice chairman and chief innovation officer at the company. Lauren will continue to report to Stefan Larsson and will create initiatives to drive the group’s brands across all channels. Lauren has already had a winning track record at the company with the launch of ralphlauren.com and the organization of several key global sponsorships.
Gap Inc. stock is jumping more than 15 percent to $26.49 in the early trading session following an upgrade at Deutsche Bank from sell to hold and the release of September sales. While the sales continue to decline, an increase at Old Navy encouraged investors to jump in. Gap blamed its distribution fire for the lack of sales in its namesake brand and said it could continue over in to October. Banana Republic saw sales fall another 9 percent. The big jump in price is also being attributed to short sellers who bet the stock would drop and instead they are being forced to cover their positions by buying shares.
Chico’s FAS Inc. named Diane Ellis president of its Chico’s brand effective Nov. 1. Ellis will report to chief executive officer Shelley Broader. She comes to Chico’s from The Limited where she served as ceo. Ellis succeeds Cinny Murray, who left in August following the company’s decision to lay off 200 workers at its headquarters. Chico’s stock is rising more than 2 percent to $12.55 on the news. The stock has fallen 16 percent overall for the past year, but in the last three months has started a bit of a recovery, rising 15 percent.
Across the pond, Great Britain’s currency plunged 6 percent in two minutes in Asian trading, before recovering in London trading. The pound took a pounding as worries over Brexit triggered some selling, but then the computers took over, creating a flash crash situation. The pound has been weakening as Prime Minister Theresa May has spoken this week about getting the country’s exit from the European Union under way, which is being deemed a “hard Brexit.”