Credit Suisse analysts went on a downgraded spree in the retail sector, lowering Macy’s Inc. , Gap Inc. and Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands Inc. to underperform from neutral based on analyst forecasts that weak recent trends will continue through the holiday season. L Brands stock slumped 8% after the downgrade, Gap stock slumped 5.8% in Friday trading, Macy’s stock was down 4.3%. Among the factors causing the pressure are a shorter holiday shopping calendar and tariff and tourism uncertainty. Analysts expressed concern, and lowered estimates, across the U.S. softline retailer group, but were especially cautious on these three retailers. Credit Suisse thinks Macy’s “same-store sales trends likely running below Street estimates in Q3” with the “earnings-per-share algorithm in much more fragile state today vs. pre-2008 recession.” Analysts cut Macy’s price target to $12 from $19. Analysts cut Gap’s price target to $14 from $20. “We believe the pending spinoff of Old Navy will ultimately prove to have been destructive to equity value, and have low confidence that the company will be able to achieve the offsets to dis-synergy costs laid out in its recent presentation,” analysts said. And L Brands’ price target was slashed to $14 from $22. “In a tougher U.S. backdrop, we see risk to 2H guide that assumes a fairly quick turn in Victoria’s Secret trends with the multitude of challenges facing the company today making it difficult to support the stock on valuation alone,” Credit Suisse said. Analysts top picks in the sector are all rated outperform and all had price target hikes: Vans parent VF Corp. , up to $116 from $104; off-price retailer Ross Stores Inc. , up to $130 from $120; Burlington Stores Inc. , up to $245 from $235; and Nike Inc. target price raised to $112 from $105. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is down nearly 9% over the past year while the S&P 500 index has gained 8% for the period.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
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