Francesca's Holdings Slumps After Wedbush Downgrade

Francesca's Holdings Corp. dropped as much as 7% in early trade on Monday after Wedbush Securities downgraded the stock to neutral from outperform. The women's clothing retailer has been "consistently more promotional" than last year for the last four to six weeks, Wedbush said, adding Francesca's brighter colored tops and dresses continue to see slow sales. The bright assortment represents more than half of the company's apparel mix in many stores, Wedbush said. The brokerage firm also raised T.J. Maxx parent TJX Cos. to outperform, adding the so-called off-price retailer's third-quarter results will likely stand out in the sector after retailers from Gap Inc. to J.C. Penney Co. have reported disappointing sales. Wedbush also raised the price target of TJX's rival Ross Stores Inc. to $89 from $87 and cut third-quarter profit estimates on Ann Taylor parent Ann Inc. and Express Inc. Both TJX and Ross were little changed. Ann and Express both dropped about 1%.

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