U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 17 mins

Skechers shares spike on strong fourth quarter

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Skechers USA Inc. rose almost 10 percent Thursday after the footwear company's fiscal fourth-quarter results beat analysts' estimates.

THE SPARK: Skechers reported Wednesday that it returned to a profit for the three months ended Dec. 31, earnings 8 cents per share compared with a loss of $1.18 per share a year ago. Revenue climbed 40 percent to $395.6 million from $283.2 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 13 cents per share on revenue of $336.3 million.

THE ANALYSIS: Sam Poser of Sterne, Agee & Leach said that the fourth-quarter beat shows that Skechers is well positioned for a strong year in 2013.

"Multiple categories are working well. Expenses under control," he wrote.

The analyst reaffirmed a "Buy" rating and $25 price target.

Skechers topped the forecast of Wedbush's Corinna Freedman, who expected a loss of 10 cents per share. She pointed to a 72 percent spike in its U.S. wholesale business.

But Freedman is not changing her "Neutral" rating, or her price target.

Freedman says, despite the huge quarter, that she's concerned about a lack of new running shoes being offered compared with last year, when the company introduced new silhouettes and colors. Last year's weather was also better for early spring running shoe purchases, Freedman said.

SHARE ACTION: Skechers USA Inc. gained $1.93, or 9.9 percent, to $21.50 in morning trading. Over the past year, the shares have traded between $11.97 and $22.37.