HONG KONG — Prada SpA shares lost some ground Wednesday, a day after the company released its first-half earnings figures. Prada shares fell 1.44 percent on the Hong Kong stock exchange to close at 79 Hong Kong dollars ($10.19 at current exchange) while the Hang Seng Index declined 0.27 percent.The Milan-based company posted 7.6 percent increase in net profit and 11.7 percent increase in revenue, bolstered by double digit growth in Asia and the Americas. The Italian fashion house, which owns Miu Miu as well as Church's, posted better-than-expected margins but missed some analyst estimates on profit. Still, at least three analysts reiterated their buy or outperform ratings on the stock. Citibank analyst Thomas Chauvet said he had been expecting stronger earnings momentum given the easy comparisons with a year ago. The analyst reiterated his buy rating on Prada shares, citing Prada's earnings growth potential and strong brand in China. Prada raised pricing and reduced discounting during the first half of the year, but analysts noted that this didn't seem to have any negative impact on sales or deter the current customer base. Goldman Sachs highlighted the company's gross margin growth and said the quarter's results "highlight Prada's competitive advantages within the luxury gods sector, particularly the pricing power of the Prada brand." Not all analysts were so impressed. Nomura downgraded Prada shares to neutral, citing a "mixed" outlook and limited upside with valuations already near the top end among fast-growing peers. Nomura also noted that even though EBITDA was higher by three percent, one-off taxes impacted overall earnings.Elsewhere, Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 1.35 percent while Singapore's Straits Times was gaining about 0.41 percent in late-day trade.
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