Wells Fargo Reluctantly Raises Estimates on 2 Rebounding Retailers

Analysts are skeptical of the footwear names, despite big earnings beats in recent months

Emma Duncan
Jan 11, 2018 at 10:19 AM
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Footwear stocks Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL) and Finish Line Inc (NASDAQ:FINL) are in the headlines today after the sector peers garnered some attention from analysts at Wells Fargo ahead of today's opening bell. Here's a closer look at how FL and FINL stocks are faring. 

Foot Locker Falls Despite Positive Analyst Attention

FL is down  0.7% to trade at $45.94 after Well Fargo upped its price target on the stock to $45 from $42 -- reflecting expectations for the shares to remain essentially flat. The shares embarked on a big rally after gapping higher after earnings in mid-November, but FL has more recently been consolidating into support around the $45 level, which is home to its rising 30-day moving average.

Short sellers have been rattled by the stock's breakout, as short interest dropped by 14.5% during the past two reporting periods. These bearish bets still represent 11.4% of the stock's total available float, pointing to plenty of fuel for additional short-covering upside.

Skepticism still lingers elsewhere, too, as 11 out of 19 analysts following Foot Locker stock are carrying "hold" or "sell" recommendations. As the equity solidifies its fledgling uptrend, additional bull notes could provide fresh buying pressure.

Finish Line Dips on Lukewarm Target Hike

FINL is fractionally lower at $13.30 after receiving its own tepid price-target hike to $15 from $14 at Wells Fargo. Similar to Foot Locker, shares of Finish Line gapped higher after a December earnings beat, and the stock is in the process of bouncing from previous support at $12.50 -- which had briefly switched roles to act as resistance during the second half of 2016.

Short interest on FINL fell 13% over the past two reporting periods, but still represents a hefty 19% of the stock's total available float. At the equity's average daily volume, it would take five days for shorts to cover their bearish bets -- a healthy source of future buying pressure.

Echoing Wells Fargo's unambitious forecast for Finish Line, most analysts are on the fence. Out of 16 brokerage firms following the stock, 10 call it a "hold," with only one "buy" rating to be found. 


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