|11:41 EDT||SIG||Tiffany plummets after cutting fiscal 2014 profit outlook|
Shares of jewelry and accessories retailer Tiffany (TIF) are sinking after the company lowered its profit outlook for fiscal 2014. Additionally, the company reported holiday sales for the two-month period ended December 31 were 1% below prior year levels. WHAT'S NEW: Tiffany this morning reported sales results for the two-month holiday period ended December 31. For the period, the company reported worldwide net sales of $1.02B, 1% below the prior year. Worldwide net sales increased 3% and comparable sales were even with the prior year on a constant-exchange-rate basis, which excludes the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Tiffany cut its FY14 net earnings per share view to $4.15-$4.20 from $4.20-$4.30, trailing analysts' consensus estimates of $4.32. Tiffany President and Chief Executive Officer Federic Cumenal said that the company is planning "cautiously" for the coming year. Cumenal noted that the company anticipates "significant headwinds from the stronger U.S. dollar against all of our key currencies that, as we experienced in the holiday period, negatively affects both the translation of results and sales to tourists in the U.S." Cumenal said that these factors are expected to result in the company planning low-to-mid single-digit sales and earnings growth in 2015. Cumenal also commented that "Despite these and other global economic pressures that we anticipate in the short-term, we believe that, when they abate, Tiffany will resume higher earnings growth rates based on stronger sales growth and increasing operating margins." ANALYST REACTION: This morning, research firm Sterne Agee lowered its price target for Tiffany to $110 from $121 citing the company's "disappointing" holiday comps and "soft" initial 2015 guidance. However, he firm kept a Buy rating on the name, and said it is encouraged by the company's relative strength in Asia-Pacific and Europe. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, Tiffany fell $12.15, or about 11.7%, to $91.30 on more than three times its average daily trading volume. Despite today's pull back, the shares have gained approximately 1% over the past 12 months. OTHERS TO WATCH: Tiffany & Co peers include Signet Jewelers (SIG), down 0.6%, and Blue Nile (NILE), down 2.2%.