Retailers Lag as Wall Street Rises Amid Election Uncertainty

The investors who make second-by-second decisions that drive stock markets might be keeping their cool in the face of a drawn-out count to decide the U.S. presidential election — but they’re also inching away from many fashion and retail companies that rely on consumers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.8 percent, or 493.95 points, to 27,973.98 in early trading Wednesday, extending this week’s rally where the betting was that former vice president Joseph Biden would beat out President Trump, even if it took a while. 

Part of the calculus behind the Wall Street support for Biden was that he might move quickly on a new stimulus package to help consumers amidst the pandemic. The hope was that the stimulus might ease the pain from the resulting unemployment rate, which at 7.9 percent is still more than twice what it was a year ago.

When WWD asked more than 75 fashion executives what they want from the next administration, unity and a coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic were at the top of the list.

Among the fashion companies losing ground on Wednesday were G-III Apparel Group, down 8 percent to $13.50; Fossil Group Inc., 5.5 percent to $5.95; Nordstrom Inc., 4.9 percent to $12.70; Kohl’s Corp., 4 percent to $20.92; PVH Corp., 3.9 percent to $60.76; Macy’s Inc., 3.3 percent to $6.38; Levi Strauss & Co., 2.9 percent to $15.61, and Under Armour Inc., 2.8 percent to $12.65. 

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The consumer-related companies that were beating the market were generally the powerhouses, including Inc., up 3.2 percent to $3,145.38; Lululemon Athletica Inc., 2.3 percent to $334.61; Nike Inc., 1.3 percent to $126.25, and the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., 1.2 percent to $227.84. 

Globally, most markets were up as the world watched closely the drama unfolding in the U.S., where Biden projected calm and confidence and Trump — who has made falsehood a cornerstone of his administration — tried to declare victory, although no independent organization has called the election and votes are still being counted in key states. 

The CAC 40 in Paris  rose 1.26 to 4,865.99 as the DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.8 percent to 12,181.67 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 1.7 percent to 23,695.23. 

Among the gainers internationally were Hermès International, up 1.6 percent to 822.80 euros; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 1.4 percent to 414.55 euros; Kering, 0.6 percent to 546.40 euros, and Burberry Group, 0.5 percent to 14.21 pounds.

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