Upgrade lifts Urban shares to record high

The Associated Press

An upgrade from Credit Suisse helped Urban Outfitters shares hit an all-time high Friday.

THE SPARK: Analysts Christian Buss, Bilun Boyner and Darla Shay upgraded the retailer's rating to "Outperform" from "Neutral" and raised their target price for the stock by $6 to $48.

THE BIG PICTURE: Urban Outfitters Inc. operates Anthropologie, Free People and its namesake stores that sell clothing, shoes and other goods.

Shares have risen about 60 percent since mid-May, as the company's net income began growing again. It had declined for six straight quarters before the May-July period, its fiscal second quarter.

And the company is upbeat on the holiday shopping season, a key time for retailers. It said in mid-December that so far in its fourth quarter, revenue was increasing by a high-single-digit percentage. That measure had risen 7.7 percent in the third quarter.

The metric strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores, which can skew ongoing business trends, and includes online sales.

THE ANALYSIS: In a Friday note, the Credit Suisse analysts said they believed Urban's merchandise and prices have improved, it has gotten better managing its inventory and sales are growing fast from its website.

They lifted their expectations for per-share profit and revenue in 2013.

SHARE ACTION: Shares increased 63 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $41.37 in afternoon trading, earlier peaking at $41.72.