Shares of Skechers (SKX 1.56%) fell 15.2% in December, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, despite a relative lack of company-specific news. To be clear, there were no new Skechers press releases, Securities and Exchange Commission filings, or analyst downgrades that might otherwise cause such a decline.
That said, there are two likely culprits for last month's drop. First, note the broader stock market pulled back hard in December -- with the S&P 500 losing 9%, for example -- on concerns over slowing global economic growth. So, at least viewed through that lens, Skechers' 15% drop wasn't much more pronounced.
Second, as fellow Fools Chris Hill and Seth Jayson discussed a few weeks ago, the market could be concerned over the possibility that trade tensions between the U.S. and China could negatively affect the casual footwear specialist.
Indeed, we saw some of that concern surface when Skechers reported third-quarter results in mid-October. During the company's subsequent conference call with analysts, management fielded several questions concerning tariffs imposed by the U.S. on products imported from China.
In short, Skechers CFO John Vandemore noted that none of the existing tariffs at the time would have any effect on their current product lines -- though he did warn that the "last rung of potential tariffs" that the Trump administration was threatening to impose could begin to have an impact on the footwear and apparel markets.
Skechers COO David Weinberg added:
I think it's fair to say, we'll be very cognizant of what they are. [...] We'll be no different, I believe than anybody else. We'll look for where the best availability is us for production, quality, and price around the world, even segregating some production of some styles from country to country, depending on what the necessities are. There's a lot of moving pieces, you know: What happens to the Chinese currency? Does that make up part of the tariff fees? [...] I think it's fair to say we are very flexible, [and] we are increasing our production capacity outside of China, just in general.
As it stands, we'll receive more color on Skechers performance and its thoughts on the developments with China when the company releases fourth-quarter results early next month. In the meantime, considering shares of this promising company fell without any truly tangible news, I don't think investors should lose any sleep over last month's decline.
Check out the latest Skechers earnings call transcript.