U.S. stocks opened Thursday’s trading session up slightly, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.37 percent to 18,102.22.
In the broader macroeconomic picture, jobless claims rose less than expected while retail sales fell more than expected in August. That suggests perhaps a decrease in the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will implement an interest rate hike next week. And if the retail sales trend continues to show a cooling off, that would not bode well for expectations of a strong third-quarter economic rebound.
In retail and apparel stocks, shares of VF Corp. were down 2.9 percent to $56.37 after Bank of America downgraded the stock to “underperform.” The downgrade follows downgrades to “Neutral” from D.A. Davidson and Buckingham Research earlier this week.
Shares of Evine Live Inc., the multiplatform commerce firm, rose 8.3 percent to $2.09 following disclosure of a strategic investment led by Tommy Hilfiger, Morris Goldfarb and Tommy Mottola. Evine today is making available a new beauty offering called Cover FX Cosmetics, a problem-solving makeup line. Last week it gave customers a new proprietary jewelry line called Jewels, which uses Swarovski Zirconia in its designs.
Sears was up 0.2 percent to $11.91, following the retailer’s reiteration that it has a sizable asset base to rely on to help it continue with its transformation and return to profitability. The company’s comment came following a report from ratings agency Moody’s Investors’ Service that lowered the retailer’s speculative grade liquidity rating. Moody’s analyst Christina Boni said that in lowering the rating, Moody’s recognized the challenges Sears faces in reducing its high cash burn. Moody’s also raised the question regarding the viability of the Kmart franchise.