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Shoe company stocks move on analyst action

The Associated Press

Shoe industry stocks made some significant moves Monday with DSW Inc. and Steve Madden falling on analyst downgrades while the maker of Ugg boots got a lift from an upgrade.

DSW Inc.'s shares fell after two Sterne Agee analysts downgraded their rating of the shoe retailer's stock to "Neutral" from "Buy." Analysts Sam Poser and Ben Shamsian said that DSW's stock is fairly priced and has hit their previous price target of $80, thereby justifying the downgrade.

The analysts are still positive on the company's strength though, saying that DSW should achieve above-average earnings and revenue growth for the foreseeable future. However, they believe that is already factored into its price.

DSW shares fell 88 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $78.10 in late afternoon trading.

Steve Madden Ltd. also took a hit Monday after Poser and Shamsian downgraded the company based on a similar scenario. The analysts said in a note that the stock is "priced for perfection" and trading at their previous price target.

The analysts said Steve Madden has industry-leading turnover, strong brand recognition and other benefits that are well understood by investors. But they said some investors are anticipating that the company may make an acquisition soon. Poser and Shamsian say that may be further away than some expect. The analysts also said they do not see any catalyst in its foreseeable future that would spur another major growth boom.

Shares of Steve Madden fell 76 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $49.91.

Deckers Outdoor Corp. was one of the few shoe companies to show a major gain Monday. Shares of the company, which makes Ugg boots and other products, jumped $1.74, or 3.1 percent to $57.39 following an upgrade by a Piper Jaffray analyst.

Erinn Murphy upgraded the company's stock to "Overweight" from "Neutral" to overweight on improving margins and brand strength. The analyst expects that orders for Ugg boots are improved heading into 2014. The company has struggled with slowing sales and shrinking margins on the boot brand. Deckers will also benefit from improved pricing of sheepskin used in the boots, a shift to lower-cost materials in the product and a gradual shift in selling more products directly to consumers, the analyst said.