Chin Up in the Downswing: Consumers More Confident, New York Fashion Keeps on Trend, AmEx Gets Upgraded
by Anne Szustek
Among today’s positive financial news headlines: one index shows a rise in consumer confidence; New York’s Madison Avenue gains new retail life; and AmEx’s stock gets upgraded from “sell” to “hold.”
Buoyed in part by the strong performance of the financial markets during March, consumer confidence is up this month, according to a survey conducted by financial publication Investor's Business Daily and TIPP, a unit of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. The IBD/TIPP index rose to 49.1 for April, the highest it has been since November last year. This month’s index is 5.3 points higher than the average over the past 12 months, and 2.2 points below the overall average of 51.3. Reuters explains that “Index readings above 50 indicate optimism; below 50 point to pessimism.”
In another sign that New York’s high-end fashion retail segment may be picking back up, luxury labels are moving back into the high-rent store spaces along Madison Avenue on the city’s Upper East Side. Jil Sander is settling into a space near the corner of 69th and Madison, the second of two locations in the city. Nanette Lepore is also opening up a second location on the street. This echoes similar reports in the March 20 edition of “Chin Up” about luxury retailers expanding in New York.
Saying that the “bear case scenario … is slightly less compelling,” Citigroup upgraded its rating for stock of financial services company American Express from “sell” to “hold,” StreetInsider.com reports. Citigroup also raised the stock’s price target from $9 to $16. Citigroup suggests that investors would do well to hold on to the stock as the economy improves.