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Ahead of the Bell: Fossil downgraded

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Benchmark analyst on Monday downgraded Fossil Inc., saying he's less optimistic about the watch and accessories maker's sales growth this year.

Ronald Bookbinder cut Fossil to "Hold" from "Buy" and cut his 2013 earnings prediction to $6.13 per share from $6.24 per share. Bookbinder had been predicting stronger profit growth for this year than many other Wall Street analysts. His new view is in line with their average estimate, as polled by research provider FactSet.

Fossil reports fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, and in a Monday note, Bookbinder predicted that its guidance for 2013 would be in line with or slightly below Wall Street's forecast.

Analysts expect profit of $5.42 per share for 2012.

But Jefferies analyst Randal Konik was more upbeat about Fossil's growth potential this year. Konik, who has a "Buy" rating on the company, lifted his price target on its shares by $10 to $125. He said that he thinks the company's business in Europe is stabilizing, predicts that its Asian division will be more profitable and that some costs for materials are easing.

Konik predicted profit of $6.40 per share for 2013.