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Why Retail Investors Need to Be Their Own Analyst

"We believe American Eagle Outfitters will be a winner in the teen space, driving revenue with promotions that we believe were all planned," Tennant wrote.

Even the credit ratings agencies have been slow to act. After Sears Holdings (SHLD - Get Report) announced it was closing underperforming stores, the retailer was downgraded by Standard & Poor's two notches this week to CCC+ from B, or further into junk territory.

Sears has been under pressure for some time, but it took S&P this long -- and the announcement of store closures and profit warning -- to decide the flailing department store will "remain under pressure" in 2012.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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