Wall Street rallied strongly Monday, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 338.89 in the points in the early afternoon, as traders took a liking to word that the FBI found no new evidence to inflame the scandal that’s swirled around Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server.
Now that the bombshell that reignited the scandal and appeared to narrow the presidential race between Clinton and Donald Trump has proved to be a dud, Wall Street rejoiced. (Or traders on Wall Street, like so many Americans, are just ready for the whole thing to be over.)
Investors are a generally change-adverse bunch and, where Clinton’s view of the world largely jives with that of President Obama’s, Trump is seen as much more of wildcard. A president prone to dramatic statements could make it hard for investors to place bets that often require a stable, predictable market.
At midday, the Dow was up 1.9 percent to 18,227.17. That helped lift the stocks of many fashion and retail firms, with the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group, raced ahead 2.5 percent to 1,318.41.
The biggest gainer was Blue Nile Inc., which shot up 34 percent to $40.78 after it cut a $500 million deal with Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC to go private.
Rising more in line with the general thrust of the market were, Fossil Group Inc., up 6 percent to $27.12; Movado Group Inc., 6.3 percent to $22.90; Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., 4.6 percent to $51.36; Amazon.com Inc., 4 percent to $785.57; Chico’s FAS Inc., 4.4 percent to $11.84, and J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 3.9 percent to $8.52.
In general, the election has been bad for retail.
Experts say consumers have been distracted by the political back and forth, which has fed a general sense of anxiety over the state of the world, modern life and the economy.
Retail legend Leslie Wexner, chief executive officer of L Brands Inc., said: “We’ve had Halloween for the last four months in terms of the events in the world. We have Nero and Caligula arguing about the future of Rome and like fools we’re listening to it.”
The rush to get people to the polls tends to drown out other interests. It was harder for many retailers to get their message out and drive traffic with the airways taken over by political ads.
Analytics firm RetailNext predicted that traffic at the stores it tracks would be down 11 percent this month, with most of the decrease coming from the past week.
While some spending gains are expected to be lost for good, retailers are expected to pick their momentum back up as the holiday season gets underway in earnest.