While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.
What: Shares of Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ: DECK ) popped 4% today after Wedbush upgraded the shoemaker from neutral, to outperform.
So what: Along with the upgrade, analyst Corinna Freedman boosted her price target to $74 per share (from $54), representing about 16% worth of upside to its Thursday close. Wedbush said that management's tone at a recent meeting was particularly positive, giving the analyst some comfort over its near-term sales estimates, long-term profit assumptions, and outlook for the UGG brand.
Now what: While Wedbush acknowledged that the call is a bit speculative, the stock's general risk/reward trade-off is certainly more attractive. "Over the longer term, we are incrementally more comfortable with our previous assumption of $5.00 in earnings power and our model now assumes that DECK could realistically achieve this by fiscal 2016," wrote Freeman in a note to investors. When you couple Deckers' red-hot stock price -- now up 130% from its 52-week lows -- with the competitive and inventory risks that remain, however, I'd hold out for a wider margin of safety before buying into that bullishness.
More compelling retail picks
The retail space is in the midst of the biggest paradigm shift since mail order took off at the turn of last century. Only those most forward-looking and capable companies will survive, and they'll handsomely reward those investors who understand the landscape. You can read about the 3 Companies Ready to Rule Retail in The Motley Fool's special report. Uncovering these top picks is free today; just click here to read more.