STOCK SPILL MISSES FASHION
Byline: Evan Clark
NEW YORK — Apparel and retail companies generally were able to dodge the large tech-driven declines of the stock market on Monday, with most avoiding heavy losses and suffering only low- to mid-single-digit drops in their stock prices.
The major economic indicators showed the strain of the recent weeks of profit warnings, layoffs and disappointing earnings.
The technology-rich Nasdaq index closed at 1,923.39, down 129.4 or 6.3 percent, just over a year after hitting a record high of 5,048.62 on March 10, 2000. The Nasdaq hasn’t traded below 2,000 in more than two years. Cisco Systems, a network firm, started the southward turn with news of layoffs after the market closed on Friday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average Index closed at 10,208.25, down 436.37, or 4.1 percent, its fifth-largest point drop ever.
In the carnage, tech-related stocks fared the worst, of course, but the red ink spilled into other sectors as well. Retailers, particularly those of the specialty variety, were shielded from the worst losses either by their own strong performances, their previous undervalued status or both. Gainers included Wet Seal, which posted a $1.44 gain, to close at $26.56. Bebe closed up 31 cents, to $23.44; Buckle up 19 cents, to $18.65; and Urban Outfitters ahead 38 cents, to close at $12.
Among the more vulnerable specialty retailers Monday were Gap, which closed at $23.77, down $1.88; American Eagle Outfitters, $25.50, down $1.31; Hot Topic, $24.69, down $1; Intimate Brands, $14.71, down 78 cents; J. Jill Group, $15.63, down $1.88; Charlotte Russe, $26, down $1.38; Charming Shoppes, $6.13, down 46 cents; and Wilson’s Leather, $19.25, down 63 cents.
Discounters were not immune. Wal-Mart Stores closed at $48.31, down $2.47; Target Corp., $36.51, down $1.09; K-Mart Corp., $9.15, down 45 cents, and Shopko, $8.89, down 35 cents.
Department stores, while operationally defending themselves from the onslaught of specialty stores and discounters, posted drops on par with the indices. The May Department Stores Co. closed at $39.45, down $1.05; Federated Department Stores, $46.95, down 90 cents; J.C. Penney Co., $17, down 75 cents; Nordstrom, $17.66 down 63 cents; and Saks Inc., $12.95 down 7 cents.
Apparel manufactures had a punishing day on Wall Street, as well. Polo Ralph Lauren ended the day at $28.19, down 77 cents; Tommy Hilfiger Corp., $14.42, down 65 cents; Guess Inc., $6.16, down 59 cents; Cone Mills Corp., $3.20, down 10 cents; Delta Galil, $4.75, down 56 cents; Fossil Inc., $18.88, down $1.13; Gildan Activewear, $20.69, down $1.31; and Hartmarx Corp., $3.45, down 20 cents.
Some, though, managed to buck the trend. Tropical Sportswear closed at $18.25, up 25 cents; and Dan River picked up 10 cents, to close at $2.40.
The mostly resilient luxury stocks took at least a glancing blow, as well.
Gucci closed at $84.35, down $2.70; while rival LVMH ended the day at $10.75, down 75 cents. Tiffany & Co. dropped $1.84, to $31.22.
Cosmetics marketer Revlon Inc. closed at $4.75, down 80 cents; while The Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. ended the day at $39.99, down 57 cents. Avon Products Inc. was able to inch up a penny, to close at $42.70.
The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 closed at 1,180.03, down 53.39 or 4.3 percent. This pulled the average 24 percent below its 52-week high of 1,553.11 and officially into bear territory for the first time since the stock market crash of 1987. A bear market is defined as a drop of more than 20 percent.