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Morgan Stanley Narrows Gap

Morgan Stanley downgraded Gap (GPS) to neutral from outperform.

Analyst Robert Ohmes says given the sluggishness in Gap's core basics business, sales momentum won't turn around as quickly as he hoped. He says it's unclear how much of the shortfall is economy-driven, and how much is Gap-merchandise driven. Ohmes says Gap's EPS visibility for rest of year is unclear; and that he's is not sure the clothing retailer will show the same-store sales improvement (vs. easy comparisons agains the prior year period) that he is hoping for. He cut his $1.15 fiscal 2002 (Jan.) EPS estimate to $1.00, and cut his $1.45 fiscal 2003 estimate to $1.25.

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