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Crocs plunge after disappointing earnings

NEW YORK (AP) -- Crocs Inc. shares fell more than 20 percent Thursday, a day after the maker of colorful plastic shoes reported second-quarter results that fell far short of Wall Street expectations.

THE SPARK: Goldman Sachs analyst Taposh Bari downgraded the footwear maker's stock rating to "Neutral" from "Buy."

THE BIG PICTURE: Crocs has been trying to expand beyond its signature plastic clogs to wedges, sandals and even golf shoes. But that strategy doesn't seem to be working yet.

The Niwot, Colo.-based company said late Wednesday that its net income fell 43 percent on weaker sales in the U.S. and Europe, blaming the sales slump on colder than normal temperatures in the spring. However, sales rose in Asia, a region that the company said will drive growth.

THE ANALYSIS: Bari said that Crocs is volatile, and added in a note to clients that there is a "lack of visibility into this increasingly complex business."

Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy has a different view. Murphy said that Thursday's stock price drop presents a good buying opportunity for long-term investors.

"While results were clearly disappointing, we continue to believe in the long-term thesis of rebuilding global distribution, expanding styles beyond the core clog silhouette and increasing the direct-to-consumer component," Murphy said in a note to clients.

When asked for comment, Crocs pointed to statements made by its chief financial officer Wednesday during a call with analysts: "The fundamentals of the business remain strong," CFO Jeff Lasher said. "Strengthening retail performance outside of Japan solidify our long-term sustainable growth expectations for revenue. Our healthy balance sheet continues to be a source of notable strength."

SHARE ACTION: Crocs shares dropped $3.43, or 20 percent, to close at $13.55 Thursday. The stock is near the 52-week low of $12 it reached in November 2012.