The S&P 500 closed the month up 7.9 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7.2 percent, marking their biggest gains for the month since January 1987 and January 1989, respectively. Twice during the month, Fed Chair Jerome Powell eased some of Wall Street’s uncertainty around interest rates, saying the central bank would be “patient” about raising rates.
While much of the growth was driven by the financial, industrial and energy sectors (all of which were battered in the fourth quarter of last year), there were a few bright spots in retail and footwear. Nike, for one, started the year off at a sprint after its December earnings report assured investors of improving profit margins and accelerating sales at home and abroad, despite macroeconomic headwinds in both China and Europe. The sportswear giant’s stock jumped nearly 10 percent in the first month of the year to $81.88 per share, and many analysts expect the winning streak to continue.
Competitor Under Armour also posted a solid month, seeing gains of over 14 percent as it rallied from a steep December drop, which was precipitated by the announcement of underwhelming financial targets. As of January 31, the stock sat at $20.74, still far below its 2015 highs, but in a much healthier position than the year prior.
Vans parent company VF Corp. capped off the month up more than 15 percent after reporting fiscal third-quarter earnings that beat expectations across the board. The company is currently in the process of spinning off its denim holdings, Wrangler and Lee, into a separate corporate entity called Kontoor Brands Inc., while moving the headquarters for its remaining brands — including Vans, Timberland and The North Face — to Denver.
PVH Corp.’s stock rallied 14 percent, ending the month at $109.11 after dipping into the double digits in December. The month prior, the company raised its fourth-quarter and full-year guidance and announced that it would restructure parts of its Calvin Klein business following the departure of creative director Raf Simons.