September 22, 2008 / 11:59 AM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-RESEARCH ALERT-JP Morgan cuts Buckle to neutral

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Sept 22 (Reuters) - J.P. Morgan Securities downgraded Buckle Inc (BKE.N) to “neutral” from “overweight,” saying the apparel and footwear retailer’s stock has doubled this year and is trading close to an all time high.

Shares of the company, which closed at $61.55 Friday, have more than doubled since touching their 52-week low in January.

JP Morgan said Buckle is still expected to deliver some of the best comparables in retail with upside to sell side earnings estimates, but the multiple could be capped given limited square footage growth and higher operating margins.

The brokerage said Buckle is one of the few retailers “out there with a fashion trend that is working”, JP Morgan said.

Even assuming this trend lasts longer, the brokerage said it was concerned about other retailers like J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N), Macy’s Inc (M.N) and Dillard’s Inc (DDS.N) starting to carry a similar mix of brands in some of Buckle’s markets.

Kearney, Nebraska-based Buckle currently operates 382 retail stores in 39 states. (Reporting by Dilipp S. Nag in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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