NEW YORK — A late market rally on Friday spurred on by falling crude oil prices and speculation that rising supplies will meet summer gasoline demand helped keep retail stocks somewhat afloat.

As a result, the WWD Composite Stock Index slowed its steep decline, slipping just 0.16 percent over the week to close at 1,061.68 from 1,063.35 the prior week.

The S&P 500 reflected investor excitement over lower oil prices and concern over revised earnings forecasts, ending the week at 1,156.85, a slight increase of 0.41 percent from the prior week.

As April drew to a close, economic reports were mixed. The April Chicago PMI Index, which measures factory health, declined 5.2 percent to 65.6 from 69.2 in March. A reading over 50 still indicates growth, however.

Meanwhile, according to government data, personal income rose 0.5 percent while personal expenditures climbed 0.6 percent, beating analyst expectations.

On Wall Street, trading remained erratic as investors weighed the month’s economic data and the week’s mixed earnings reports. While Columbia Sportswear reported that first-quarter earnings rose 6.5 percent from last year, it is expecting full year 2005 net income to fall 8 to 12 percent from a year ago. The outdoor apparel retailer blamed the expected decline on a drop in fall orders from the North American markets. Columbia Sportswear fell 16.4 percent over the week to close at $43 on Friday.

Investors will continue looking at crude oil prices and its impact on consumer spending. They will also scrutinize how companies who are reporting second-quarter results over the next several weeks gauge sales and profits for the second half of the year.

This story first appeared in the May 2, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Weekly % Changes
(ending April 29)
Largest Gainers
Largest Losers
  Close Change   Close Change
New York & Co. 19.18 10.55
1.48 -17.32

Wet Seal

3.74 8.72
Columbia Sprtswr
43.00 -16.42
Retail Ventures 10.08 7.01
Mothers Work
11.85 -10.23
Neiman Marcus 98.32 4.22
12.00 -9.23
Coach 26.80 4.04
Estee Lauder
38.41 -8.22
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