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Fossil Keeps Ticking, But Is It Time to Play?


Company's been beating estimates, but economy is still rough.

Someone once told me that when I had kids, I'd get sick all the time. That person was on the mark: Once again I'm battling a nasty head cold this morning. Let's hope the nearly half-gallon of cranberry juice I drank kicks in soon.

Asian stocks rose yet again overnight. The Hang Seng was up 1.61%. The Nikkei, however, closed up just a smidge -- 0.01%. European stocks were higher early this morning, too. And here in the US, we're currently trading higher.

Here's what I'm seeing this morning:

The watch company was out with its third-quarter numbers and I wanted to weigh in.

For those that missed it, it managed to put up $0.52, which was well above the $0.42 estimate I'm seeing. It beat on the revenue line, too. It also indicated it's looking for $1.85 to $1.89 for the year, which isn't too shabby because the Street is at $1.71.

My feel:

It beat by a dime, which is almost sure to attract attention, and it offered up a solid fourth-quarter outlook. My hunch is that analysts will be upbeat about this and that we could see estimates get a goose.

2. If it's able to tick through the high, I'm betting more institutional folks will want to strap this one to their wrists, too.

3. But my second hand just isn't spinning for this one. While I'm kicking myself for having missed it and admit there could be some upside here if the company is able to deliver in 2010, I'm just not feeling the love right now.

4. It trades at about 16.7 times management's estimate (the top end of the guidance), which isn't totally cheap. And while its beaten the heck out of estimates for three quarters straight, is it going to keep pulling rabbits out of its hat? I still don't think the economy is headed straight up, and watches won't likely be a priority for people if the macroeconomic momentum experiences some fits.

Macy's (M):
The retailer whose perfume-sprayers always seem nab me as I weave my way through cosmetics toward the mall, released its third-quarter numbers. Excluding items, it lost $0.03, which was actually better than the $0.07 loss the Street was expecting.

I thought it was a decent quarter, all things considered. But my eyes were more focused on the following line in the release: "At the level of current guidance for the fourth quarter, full-year 2009 diluted earnings per share will be $1.01 to $1.06, excluding restructuring-related costs." Note that the estimate is $1.11.

I like Macy's, but I think the stock is pretty fairly valued as of last night's close. If it were to pull back, however, to the low teens, I might actually develop some interest. But with all the competition and the uncertain economy, I don't see why I should belly up right now.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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