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Merrill Upgrades Coach to 'Buy'

Merrill Lynch upgraded Coach (COH) to buy from neutral.

Analyst Mark Friedman says the upgrade reflects increased confidence about business momentum in the near term, despite the external environment. He says the current multiple assumes a solid summer, but has not factored in what should be a great fall season.

Friedman notes a strong fall product assortment, solid traffic trends, and outstanding follow-up for spring 2004. He believes the handbag and accessories retailer can continue to buck retail trends on improving metrics, expanded assortments, and a continued intense focus on the customer.

He raised his 29 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share estimate to 32 cents, and upped the $1.80 fiscal 2004 (June) estimate to $1.90. He has a $60 price objective.

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