According to the Barron’s Online, the basket of apparel stocks tracked by Thomson Financial has been on a roll, jumping 21% over the last 4 months. But since closing at a 5-year high on Nov. 15, the index has dropped 6%. And that may be as good as it gets for Coldwater Creek (CWTR), Claire’s Stores (CLE), AnnTaylor (ANN), Aeropostale (ARO) and other highflying apparel retail stocks. Though pulling back from recent highs, the sector continues to trade at sizable premiums to the broader mkt, reflecting big expectations. But given challenges facing retailers this Christmas and mixed economic indicators, many stocks remain ahead of themselves. "It is not surprising that these stocks are a bit squishy right now," says Bill McVail, retail industry analyst and small-cap portfolio manager at Turner Investment Partners. "We won't know until January how the co’s performed. Add to that the run-up in these stocks, and it's no shock there's been some profit-taking."
“Inside Scoop” section reports that shares of Casual Male (CMRG) are currently trading near a 12-year high, but SAC Capital has loosened its belt and gobbled up nearly 1.3m shares of the co since the end of the third quarter.