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Gap's Earnings Are a Perfect Fit


And news about the dividend, share repurchases looks good, too.

Ah -- the joys of shoveling snow at 4:00 a.m. I'm living the dream I tell ya, living the dream.

Asian stocks rallied overnight. The Hang Seng and the Nikkei were up 1.03% and 0.24%, respectively. European stocks were higher, too, in early trading. And here in the US, we're currently trading higher.

Here's what I'm seeing this morning:

GAP, Inc.
Try the retailer's fourth-quarter earnings on for size. The popular chain turned in a gain of $0.51, which was a penny north of expectations. It beat by a smidge on the top line, too. What's more, it indicated that for this year, it's looking for $1.70 to $1.75, which is good news because the Street is at $1.69.

Some thoughts:

1. I've been a fan of Gap for a while now (see Three Reasons Gap Deserves a Second Look) and based upon these results and the outlook, my opinion hasn't changed. While it may not be ripping the cover off the ball, it's performing well.

2. This info about the dividend and share repurchases caught my eye, too. It likely wouldn't plan to up the dividend by 18%, or allow $1 billion in share repurchases if it wasn't optimistic about the future.

3. The 7% same-store-sales pop at Old Navy scratched me right where I itch; quite a performance in this environment.

4. Of its mall-based brethren, I think this is the best sandbox to play in right now.

Kaufman cut the one-time high-flier to Hold.

As many of you probably know, I've been a bear on this company for a while now. Very simply, the losses it's expected to generate have been a major deterrent for me. But with everyone piling on since the New Year, my ears are now actually starting to perk up. Don't get me wrong, I'm not playing the contrarian role just yet. But if it gets down to the $5 range, this could get interesting.

Ciena (CIEN):
Justin Sharon points out in his article that Stifel cut the company to Hold.

I haven't been the biggest bull here, either. Again, the prospect for losses this year has been a major turnoff and remains so. I think the Stifel move was a good one, and I just don't see what's holding the stock up here. All that said, in the low single-digits, maybe I'd take another look. If you'll remember, that's where insiders bellied up (a bit) in December.

Crocs (CROX):
The one-time super-hot clog company was out with its fourth-quarter numbers. Cutting right to the chase, its adjusted loss came to $0.04, which was better than the $0.13 loss the Street had been looking for.

1. Although I realize the stock has mounted a heck of a comeback from the lowly single-digits, I'm still not a big fan (see Ticker Shock: Three Reasons Crocs Could Bite Back).

2. The $0.16 per share that's expected for this year just doesn't do it for me at all. In this lackluster economy, I think many folks are going to be stingy with their money and buy knock-offs or cheaper footwear instead of the company's clogs. That said, I should point out that there was some insider-buying in the $5 range late last year. If it got down to that level, perhaps I'd take another look. For now, I'll pass.

Have a great day and an even better weekend!
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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