Analyst Picks and Pans: Abercrombie & Fitch, Pentair, Array

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF)

Citi Investment Research downgrades to sell from hold

Abercrombie & Fitch is likely to continue to see a weakening in its sales at stores open at least a year, Citi Investment Research analyst Kimberly Greenberger said on Sept. 4 as she downgraded the apparel retailer.

"We believe that Abercrombie & Fitch will continue to experience deteriorating same-store sales due to problems beyond pricing and newness as Abercrombie & Fitch's proactive promotional stance during back-to-school shopping season is not supporting improved sales productivity," Greenberger wrote in a client note.

The analyst anticipates that the sales misses will probably lead the New Albany, Ohio-based company to continue to lower its earnings per share forecasts. Greenberger also cut her share price target to $24 from $33.

Pentair (PNR)

KeyBanc maintains hold

Cost control and opportunities for growth will help Pentair weather the recession and boost revenue and earnings when markets improve, KeyBanc analyst Jeffrey D. Hammond said Sept. 4 as he raised his 2009 and 2010 profit estimates for the manufacturer of water treatment and storage systems.

Following a recent analysts' day presentation, Hammond said demand in the Minneapolis-based company's technical products business will likely remain challenged next year. But management's progress on cost containment will drive up earnings, he said. He increased his 2009 estimate to $1.43 per share from $1.40 per share and raised his 2010 estimate to $1.80 per share from $1.70 per share.

Near-term demand has not risen, but Pentair's vertical market focus and new product launches "could support a more robust growth profile in the next cycle," Hammond said in a note to investors.

Array Biopharma (ARRY)

Leerink Swann downgrades o market perform from outperform

Leerink Swann analyst Howard Liang said on Sept. 4 he views data from Phase II trial of the company's ARRY-162 for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as poor. With data from the trial out of the way and without its potential to generate a large upside, Liang does not see another compound in Array's remaining pipeline to generate excitement in the near term.

Liang notes Array does have a broad product pipeline but in the new funding environment, its breadth may be difficult to sustain. He said Array's valuation is not compelling to him. The analyst cut his $6 price target to $2 by removing revenues from ARRY-162 from his model.

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