Index beats consumer confidence fall

Friday, 30 July 2010
The FashionUnited Top 100 Index has beaten the fears and struggles of shoppers by the time it overcome the psychological barrier of 1,000 points, as the selective has kept positions above this mark for almost a whole week. Yesterday the index closed in 1064.17, down by 6.34 compared to the previous day´s 1070.51 points.

This week, Asian markets, sportswear and corporate reports played main role in the market’s performance. If companies based in Japan and India were characterizing the FashionUnited Top 100 Index at the beginning of the week, yesterday the most athletic firms took the lead, boosted by encouraging corporate releases and forecasts and non registering the bad news regarding the consumer confidence drop.

According to Associated Press, consumer confidence has fallen in recent months as people have waited in vain for a turnaround in the job market. That has made many consumers hesitant to spend and in turn raised concerns about the economic recovery. Most retail stocks fell after the confidence number was released. The USA Conference Board's report that its Consumer Confidence Index fell to 50.4 from June's revised reading of 54.3 distracted investors from another batch of upbeat earnings reports. The market had expected the index to come in at 51.

It was nevertheless a modest fall after three days of big gains and definitely constrained to variations below 1% and mostly affecting non USA based companies. On the other hand, and bearing in mind last released data, the American apparel retailers were some of the hardest hit by the drop in consumer confidence. Ones of those resembling this uncertainty were AnnTaylor Stores Corp. which fell 33 cents, or 5 percent, to $16.87, while Talbots Inc. fell 51 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $11.43.

However, the dismissing report has not been enough for Nike, which walks with strong feet gaining yesterday 31.53 points. Similar path was taken by Under Armour, which recently posted better-than-expected second-quarter 2010 results buoyed by the strong demand for athletic apparel that registered the highest sales growth rate since third-quarter 2007. The leading developers, marketers and distributors of branded sports apparel, footwear and accessories saw how their position in the New York Stock Exchange climbed up nearly 64 points. Another related company, Nordstrom, reported a gain of 31.96 points. To complete the athletic brands good performance, another US based firm, Lululemon Athletica Inc., with a increase of 36.47 points. Zumiez Inc., parent house for well known surf, winter and street sports such as Vans, O´Neil or DC, was the exception confirming the rule, with a drop over nine points. Also The Timberland Company presented its 2Q numbers yesterday. The adventure label reported a second-quarter 2010 net loss of $23.5 million and a diluted loss per share of ($0.44). These results compare to a second-quarter 2009 net loss of $19.2 million and diluted earnings per share of ($0.34).

But if the outdoors and sportive labels seemed to avoid the buyers concerns, the high street brands appeared to fail in doing so, as clearly shown Abercrombie and Fitch, with a loss of 37%, accompanied by Aeropostale Inc., losing 0.84%.

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