CS First Boston downgraded its investment recommendation on shares of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) to hold from buy.
Analyst Richard Baum says the stock has increased 24% since its fourth quarter results, and is now within 5% of his $30 price target. He believes the stock price requires the company to achieve positive comparisons no later than the third quarter. Without positive comparisons, the company will find it increasingly difficult to achieve higher EPS, notes Baum. He says its women's business faces difficult comparisons in the first half, the men's business has not achieved positive comparisons in over a year, and the children's business continues to struggle. Baum cut his $1.90 fiscal 2003 (ending January) EPS estimate to $1.85, reflecting his cautious view on same-store sales.