Gap, and A&F shake Wall Street

Friday, 03 February 2012

The FashionUnited Top 100 Index closed Thursday more optimistic that in the whole of the month thanks to a boost of 27.37 points that sent it up to 1,371.85 by the market close. Gap, Cato and A&F, together with LVMH were the stocks to watch during the session.

U.S. stocks rose, adding to Wednesday?s gains thanks to the signs of improvement in the economy highlighted by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. Gap Inc. surged 9.4 per cent after forecasting earnings above estimates, while competitor A&F fell by 11 per cent.

Gap Inc. said Thursday that revenue at stores open at least a year fell 4 per cent in January. Despite this means a downfall from a 3 per cent increase a year ago, still news wasn't that bad. It was better than the 4.9 per cent decline that analysts had predicted. To balance it up for the American retailer, Banana Republic North America, revenue rose 6 per cent.

That sent company shares up 8 per cent in premarket trading to $21.10 (Rs 1,045), reported AP. Shares are nearing the 52-week-high of $23.73 (Rs 1,175). Gap also said it expects per-share earnings for the fourth quarter, which covers roughly November through January, to be 41 cents (Rs 20) or 42 cents (Rs 21), well above the 35 cents (Rs 17) predicted by analysts polled by FactSet.

Meanwhile, shares of Abercrombie & Fitch tumbled 11 per cent to a 52-week low in early trading Thursday after the retailer said that its fourth-quarter adjusted earnings and revenue will fall below Wall Street?s expectations. Fourth-quarter revenue climbed 16 per cent to $1.33 billion (Rs 6,590 crores), but the results missed Wall Street?s $1.37 billion (Rs 6,788 crores) estimate. The company anticipates fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of about $1.10 (Rs 54) to $1.15 (Rs 56) per share, compared to the $1.55 (Rs 76) expected by a poll of analysts by FactSet.

Good boost for LVMH?s shares as well: it was expected to achieve profit of 5.1 billion euros (Rs 33,198 crores) on revenue of 23.3 billion euros (Rs 15,360 crores), according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates. LVMH said that "despite an uncertain economic environment in Europe" it "enters 2012 with confidence," adding that it planned to increase the dividend to shareholders paid on last year's results by 24 per cent, reported Reuters.

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