STOCK MARKET, SOME RETAILERS OPEN 1996 WITH FIREWORKS
NEW YORK — The stock market greeted the New Year with a 60.33-point jump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average Tuesday to 5,177.45, and several retail and apparel stocks joined in the festivities.
The Gap climbed 2 5/8 to 44 5/8, while Federated Department Stores gained 1 1/2 to 28 3/4 after Smith Barney initiated coverage of the retail chain with a “buy” rating.
Sears, Roebuck & Co., which gained an upgrade from Merrill Lynch, rose 1 1/2 to 40 1/2. Kmart was up 3/8 to 7 1/2 amid reports that it was continuing to make progress in stretching out its bank line maturities.
Other retail gainers were J.C. Penney, up 1 to 58 5/8; May Department Stores, up 1 7/8 to 44, and Wal-Mart Stores, up 1 to 23 1/4. However, Ann Taylor, which is struggling to reverse a trend of sharply lower same-store sales, slipped 7/8 to 9 1/2.
The gains in retail stocks do not reflect any big shift in the generally cautious sentiment toward this sector, observers say, adding that it’s more a case of being caught up in the New Year euphoria.
Among apparel manufacturers, Liz Claiborne, which announced an offer to buy up shareholders’ holdings of lots of less than 100 shares, rose 7/8 to 28 3/8. Haggar was up 1/2 to 18 1/2, and Oxford Manufacturing added 1 to 17 3/4.
On the downside, Nautica slipped 1 1/2 to 42 1/4. Harvey Sanders, its chairman and president, has reduced his stake in the company, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.