NEW YORK (
) -- Retailers received some upgrades and downgrades on Friday following
was upgraded by Goldman Sachs on Friday to buy and was added to the brokerage firm's conviction list, expecting to see a sales recovery in 2010.
The department store reported on Thursday a 5.4% jump in March same-store sales, which fell short of analysts estimates of a 5.7% increase.
Still, J.C. Penney upped its first-quarter forecast to a range of 20 cents to 24 cents a share, from prior outlook of 16 cents to 20 cents a share.
Shares of J.C. Penney are rising 1.4% to $31.42 in afternoon trading.
As Goldman put J.C. Penney on its conviction buy list, it removed
, but it maintained its buy rating on the stock.
The off-price retailer posted a 12% surge in comparable sales, nearly double the 6.5% gain Wall Street predicted.
As a result, it also lifted its first-quarter guidance, now anticipating a profit between 76 cents and 79 cents a share compared with previous guidance of 60 to 65 cents.
But Goldman foresees slower sales and earnings growth going forward. Shares of TJX are slipping 0.9% to $44.44 in morning trading.
American Eagle Outfitters
was downgraded by Bank of America/Merrill to underperform from neutral on valuation. But it's price target was still raised to $23 from $18.
The teen retailer saw a 15% spike in its same-store sales, but failed to raise its first-quarter estimate, disappointing investors.
Despite missing analysts' March forecasts, rival
Abercrombie & Fitch
was upgraded by Bank of America/Merrill to neutral from underperform and its price target was boosted to $50 from $37.
Bank of America sees significant opportunities for growth in Abercrombie's international expansion. Shares of Abercrombie are advancing 1.9% to $47.83 in morning trading.
BJ's Wholesale Club
was upgraded to neutral from underperform by Credit Suisse, and its price target was hiked to $40 from $31.
The news sent shares gaining 2.4% to $37.15 in afternoon trading.
Credit Suisse said the pressure from
isn't intensifying and food inflation could boost BJ's.
BJ's reported a 10.6% uptick in same-store sales, better than the 9.3% gain analysts were predicting.
was upgraded to outperform by Oppenheimer, as cost cuts and restructuring are expected to boost results as the economy improves.
"We believe that aggressive structural shifts at Williams-Sonoma will serve to enhance an already accelerating cyclical recovery at the chain and drive operating margins from still depressed levels to above historic peaks," analyst Brian Nagel wrote in a note.
The home furnishing retailer has cut jobs and closed some operational facilities amid the recession.
Shares of Williams-Sonoma are jumping 4.7% to $29.39 in afternoon trading.
is plunging after Soleil Securities downgraded the retailer to sell from hold, saying bankruptcy is still a possibility despite private-equity interest in the jeweler.
Shares of the company are plunging 11.1% to $3.38 in afternoon trading.
Family Dollar Stores
was also downgraded to underweight from neutral by Piper Jaffray.
Earlier this week the discounter saw its second-quarter earnings jump 33%, beating estimates. The better-than-expected results prompted the company to raise its full-year outlook.
-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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