By  on October 14, 2008

NEW YORK — Morgan Stanley has reduced its holdings in Abercrombie & Fitch Co. below the 5 percent threshold, but mutual fund giant FMR LCC has more than picked up the slack.

According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, FMR, popularly known as Fidelity, has boosted its holdings in A&F to nearly 9.5 million shares, or 10.9 percent of the shares outstanding, since June, when it reported less than a 4 percent stake in the trendy teen retailer. Companies with a stake of 5 percent or more in a public company are required to report changes in their ownership to the SEC.

Morgan Stanley, previously a holder of more than 7.6 million shares, or 8.8 percent of those outstanding, reported to the SEC on Friday that its holdings were now just under 3.4 million shares, or 3.9 percent of those outstanding. As a holder of less than 5 percent of the company, it would no longer be required to report its ownership position.

Shares of A&F fell 42 cents, or 1.5 percent, Friday after dropping $4.82, or 14.8 percent Thursday, following a 14 percent decline in September same-store sales and a warning that second-half earnings would fall “appreciably below” previous guidance. Finding the new guidance suitably cautious, Citigroup raised its rating on the stock to “hold” from “sell.”

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