(Repeats Friday story with no changes)
May 5 A glance at the U.S. stock market’s main measure for the health of retailers suggests all is well among those companies in the business of peddling stuff directly to consumers.
After all, the $1.16 trillion S&P 500 retail index has climbed nearly 13 percent this year to a record high, roughly double the 7 percent gain by the full S&P 500.
That stalwart performance, however, has been delivered almost entirely by a clutch of new ‘retailers’ that now account for more than half of the value of the index: Amazon.com Inc , Netflix Inc and Priceline Group Inc. Moreover, it masks a broad slump in shares of traditional retailers having their lunch eaten by disrupters like Amazon in particular.
In fact, when the retail index’s big three gainers are excluded, the group’s aggregate value has gained a lackluster 1.3 percent this year and is some 8 percent shy of its high-water mark two years ago.
Against that backdrop, next week brings a fresh look at how that old guard of retail is holding up and whether a turn-around in their flagging share performance might be in the offing.
First-quarter earnings reports from Macy’s Inc, Nordstrom Inc, Kohl’s Corp and JCPenney Co Inc are expected to be sobering, but could shed some light on whether wrenching turn-around plans launched by some of them, including thousands of layoffs, are starting to bear fruit.
Overall corporate earnings for the first quarter have been strong, with growth for the entire S&P 500 pegged at 14.7 percent from a year earlier, the best since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data. But the…