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Consumer: Retailing/ Broadlines & Department Stores

Deborah Weinswig is “in a league of her own,” says one enthusiastic client of the Citi analyst, who enjoys her fourth consecutive first-team finish.

Deborah Weinswig

First Team

Deborah Weinswig

Citi

Second Team

Christine Augustine, Bear Stearns

Third Team

Michael Exstein, Credit Suisse

Runners-Up

Dana Cohen, BofA; Robert Drbul, Lehman; Charles Grom, JPMorgan


Deborah Weinswig is “in a league of her own,” says one enthusiastic client of the Citi analyst, who enjoys her fourth consecutive first-team finish. In February, Weinswig, 37, elevated Dollar General Corp. — on her buy list since August 2005 — to top pick, saying management changes and a focus on profitability over growth signaled a turnaround for the troubled Goodlettsville, Tennessee–based discount chain, whose profits had plummeted after years of aggressive expansion. In March, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. announced it would buy Dollar General for $22.00 a share, a 31.1 percent premium over the closing price the day before the private equity firm extended its offer. “She’s simply my favorite analyst,” says one buy-sider. Repeat second-teamer Christine Augustine of Bear Stearns has what one investor calls a “good read on what’s going on in stores.” Last October, Augustine downgraded Kohl’s Corp. to neutral, at $69.14, noting that rising energy and food prices were keeping consumers from malls, where many of the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin– based company’s department stores are anchored. By mid-September the stock had fallen to $56.87, a decline of 17.7 percent, compared with the sector’s 6.2 percent loss. Michael Exstein of Credit Suisse, who rises from runner-up to third, impressed clients with his May 2006 upgrade of Nordstrom, calling the Seattle-based high-end retailer undervalued at $35.39. In September 2006, with the stock up 20.9 percent, Exstein urged portfolio managers to take profits. One client marvels at the analyst’s “depth and breadth of knowledge.”

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