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First Albany Upgrades Steven Madden to Buy

Steven Madden (SHOO) says it sees 36 cents to 39 cents second-quarter earnings per share on $100 million to $101 million in sales. First Albany upgraded the stock to buy.

Analyst Randall Scherago says the second-quarter preannouncement beat his and the Street's former estimates of 15 cents EPS on $86 million in revenue. He cites strong sales in the company's wholesale and retail businesses -- especially Madden Mens, as well as gross margin improvement at Candies and l.e.i.

Scherago thinks revenue and EPS growth should accelerate over the second half of 2005 and 2006, driven by the company's new designs, shoe styles, back-to-school purchases by teens, and return to historical operating margin levels of 5%-8%.

He now sees 39 cents for second-quarter EPS on $100 million in revenue. He raised his 60 cents 2005 EPS estimate to 92 cents, and 85 cents 2006 EPS forecast to $1.04. He sets a $24 price target on the stock.

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