S&P Notches Narrow Loss This Week; Retailers Feel Chill

NYSE traders
Getty Images

Going into Friday, the S&P 500 is down one percent for the week after being up four weeks in a row. So far, the declines we have seen this year — in February and April — have been on the order of three percent. In other words, these sell-offs have been brief and shallow.


1) The market has seen very mixed retail reports: what happened to Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF)? The retailer saw an almost 10 percent miss on its topline ($838 million vs. $941 million expected), which is a rare occurrence.

Not only do the numbers not lie, they are pretty ugly: a loss of 9 cents, worse than loss of 5 cent share loss expected. Meanwhile, first quarter same store sales plummeted by 15 percent? Ugh! Clearly this was not just weather. They blamed an "inventory shortage", with its Hollister brand being a real weak point.

Still there's a pretty clear trend: Aeropostale , Zumiez and American Eagle all shared the stage with ANF with their weak results. The space does depend a lot on weather.

Whither Sears? A loss of $1.29 vs. the 60 cent share loss expected? Kmart's domestic same store sales down 4.6 percent, while Sears traffic was down 2.4 percent. Sears, in theory, should have been a beneficiary of JC Penney's market share loss. It has not been.

OK, both Wal-Mart and Target had comp share declines...but still. The story with Sears is simple: years of under-investment leaves it far behind the competitors.

Ross Stores continues its dominance in the discount space. They raised full year guidance to $3.70-$3.81 from $3.65-$3.80 (against a $3.88 estimate).

Williams Sonoma had decent numbers and provided decent guidance (2013 full year EPS of $2.67-$2.77 v. $2.78 estimate). They are benefiting from the home improvement trend as well.

2) It has been a mixed week for global markets, but mostly to the downside.

S&P 500 -1.0%

Brazil 1.9%

China 0.3%

Germany -1.1%

Hong Kong -2.0%

Japan -3.5%

Spain -3.8%

By CNBC's Bob Pisani

  • Bob Pisani

    A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Wall Street