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Ticker Shock: Abercrombie, Nordstrom Caught With Pants Down

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Friday's top stories and stocks with potential to move.

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Sweet day yesterday.

As we slept, Asian markets rose. The Hang Seng and the Nikkei were both up more than 2%. This morning, Europe was showing me some green as well. Here in the US, however, we're off to a lower start. Nothing horrible, but lower nonetheless.

Here's what I'm seeing today. It's a potpourri of retail results.

Nordstrom (JWN)
On Thursday after the close, the high-end retailer disseminated its third-quarter numbers.

Excluding items, the company earned $0.30 per share. That was just shy of the $0.31 per share the Street was expecting. Comps were off 11.1%.

That being said, the company is now looking for $1.87 to $1.97 per share for the year. I suppose some could say that's not too shabby for a $13-ish stock. But the Street was at $2.21 a share. Plus, what reassurance do I have that these numbers are doable?

I'm taking a pass.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF)
The company best-known for its scantily clad models and its unique CEO released its third-quarter numbers this morning.

The Ohio-based clothier kicked out a profit of $0.72. Analysts were reportedly at $0.71. Its top line, however, was shy of expectations. And its same-store-sales were off a kind-of-sickening 14%.

Adding some fuel to the fire, the company also forecasted EPS of $1 to $1.05 for the fourth quarter, and full-year earnings of $3.27 to $3.32. The Street, however, had been looking for $1.57 for the fourth quarter and $3.82 for the year.

Abercrombie is one of those companies I think has the potential to shine over the long run. But given these expectations, I'm reluctant to pull the trigger right now.

In the interest of fairness, I do want to toss in a tidbit for the Abercrombie bulls: A quick gander at the insider data reveals an insider purchase of 1,000 shares back in August - when the stock was above $50.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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