What happened

Skechers (NYSE:SKX) shareholders had a strong start to the year, as their stock gained 19% compared to an 8% spike in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The rally only removed a small portion of the footwear giant's recent losses, though, as shares remain down by nearly one-third in the past year compared to a 1% downtick in the broader market.

A jogger runs on a trail.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

January's rally appeared to be driven by stock market forces rather than any company-specific news. Many stocks shot higher as indexes posted their best start to the year in decades, and Skechers was in a particularly strong position to rebound since shares had been battered in the prior month on concerns about showing economic growth and rising tariffs. As those worries subsided for the broader market, the shifting sentiment benefited Skechers to an unusually high degree.

Check out the latest earnings call transcript for Skechers.

Now what

The real test for this stock comes when Skechers posts its fourth-quarter results after the market closes on Thursday, Feb. 7. That announcement might show continued sales growth strength given the improving fundamentals in the industry. But investors will also be focused on how well its spending outlays, particularly in China, are paying off. Good news on this score would likely extend this stock's rally deeper into 2019.