NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The stocks of specialty apparel retailers could drop sharply as a result of the cold February weather and bottlenecks at West Coast ports, Goldman Sachs wrote in a note to investors today.
WHAT'S NEW: The cold February and port delays will probably cause specialty retailers to report lower than expected profits for the first half of 2015, Goldman analyst Lindsay Drucker Mann forecast. As a result of these factors, the inventories of companies in the sector will probably be backed up all the way to Easter, wrote Mann, adding that foreign exchange fluctuations are also likely to weigh on specialty retailers' profits. The analyst cut her rating on PVH Corp. (PVH - Get Report) two notches to Neutral from Conviction Buy, predicting that the company's profits would take longer to recover than she previously believed. Among specialty retail stocks, Mann is most negative on Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF - Get Report), Francesca's (FRAN - Get Report), and Ann Inc. (ANN). She maintained Sell ratings on all three names. The analyst predicted that American Eagle's (AEO - Get Report) stock could fall further, and maintained a Neutral rating on those shares.
WHAT'S NOTABLE: On February 26, Morgan Stanley downgraded Abercrombie & Fitch, citing skepticism about the turnaround prospects of its international business and negative foreign exchange trends. The firm predicted that the company's fiscal 2015 EPS guidance would come in below expectations. However, two firms were recently upbeat on American Eagle, with BMO Capital identifying the company as its favorite name for spring, stating that it expects American Eagle to benefit from the 70s fashion trend. Also, BB&T recently initiated the stock with a Buy rating.
PRICE ACTION: In early trading, PVH fell 1.4% to $105.23, Abercrombie & Fitch lost 1.6% to $24, Francesca's declined 2% to $14.62, Ann slid 1.1% to $35.36, and American Eagle lost 1% to $14.80.
Reporting by Larry Ramer.