Why Nordstrom Inc. Shares Slipped Today

While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.

What: Shares of Nordstrom  (NYSE: JWN  ) slipped about 1% on Friday after Stifel downgraded the fashion retailer from buy to hold.

So what: Along with the downgrade, analyst Richard Jaffe removed his price target of $65, suggesting that he sees little risk-adjusted upside going forward. While momentum traders might be attracted to the stock's bounce over the past few weeks, Jaffe thinks that Wall Street is overlooking the significant costs and risks associated with Nordstrom's e-commerce and off-sale initiatives.

Now what: According to Stifel, Nordstrom's risk/reward trade-off is rather unattractive at this point. "Nordstrom has focused its efforts on the e-commerce business, the Rack off-price business and the new markets of Canada and New York City," noted Jaffe. "These investments are different than prior investments and differ greatly from the investment in a new Nordstrom full-line store." When you couple that growth uncertainty with Nordstrom's still-hefty debt load, it's easy to understand Stifel's cautiousness. 

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