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American Eagle Shot Down

Traders got an early taste of November sales reports from teen clothing chains after Wednesday's closing bell. It was sweet and sour.

Most notably, American Eagle Outfitters (AEOS) set off alarm bells by lowering its fourth-quarter earnings forecast after same-store sales rose only 1.7% in November. Wall Street had been expecting a double-digit increase from the longtime investor favorite.

American Eagle now expects to earn between 70 cents and 72 cents a share for the quarter, down from a previous estimate of 73 cents to 75 cents. Analysts on Wall Street were expecting earnings of 74 cents a share, according to consensus estimates reported by Thomson First Call.

The stock slid $2.21, or 9.7%, to $20.55.

Meanwhile, Aeropostale (ARO) bolstered hopes for holiday spending. Its same-store sales, or sales at stores open for at least a year, rose 7.3% for the month, compared with the same month last year. Wall Street was expecting a decline.

The company said its results got a boost from the post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend, when it saw same-store sales up more than 30% over last year.

"Our gross margins for the month were in line with our plan and we continue to make progress on clearing through our excess inventory position," the company said.

Hot Topic (HOTT), which has had trouble connecting with the counter culture lately, said its same-store sales were flat in November due to increased promotions.

Newly public Citi Trends (CTRN) blew past estimates with a 26% gain in same-store sales. The clothing chain, specializing in urban fashions, said it saw "increased customer traffic following hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma." Those increases more than offset the store closings that occurred at Citi Trends as a result of the storm.

Also, Zumiez (ZUMZ) said its same-store sales were up 18.8% for the month, also beating Wall Street's expectations. Zumiez sells clothing and accessories related to extreme sports, like skateboarding and biking.

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