Footwear Stocks Jump

Several footwear stocks hit a 52-week high on Wednesday as the S&P Retail Index got within an inch of the all-time high it set four years ago.

Shares of firms such as Steven Madden Ltd., The Timberland Co. and Crocs Inc. opened as much as 2.3 percent higher than Tuesday’s close and continued trading at their highest levels in a year through the afternoon.

Madden advanced to around $50.69 early Wednesday, with 27,062 shares traded by 10 a.m. EST. Its previous 52-week high was $50.05 and average trading volume has been 333,000 shares over the past 30 days, according to reports from The Street.

Timberland hit $44.30 shortly after the markets opened, with 123,541 shares changing hands. Its previous high was $43.99.

And Crocs, whose previous high was $19.36 on Dec. 21, 2010, has seen an average trading volume of 1.9 million shares in the last month. It reached a new one-year record of $20.24 on Wednesday morning. Its historical high was $68.98, reached on Oct. 26, 2007.

Meanwhile, Deckers Outdoor Corp. rose to an all-time high of $95.96 in the afternoon before finally closing at $95.77.

Stocks were lifted as March home sales, revealed by the National Association of Realtors Wednesday, increased more than expected.

Of the 53 public firms tracked by Footwear News, only six closed the day lower. Analysts also told FN the first quarter of 2011 is still in a strong footwear cycle and data relating to consumer activity remains positive.

The S&P Retail Index, which tracks the broader retail market, jumped to a 52-week high of 537.01 during the day. Its historical high was set in February 2007 at 538.50.

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