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Nike shares hit record high as sales get post-lockdown boost
June 25 (Reuters) - Shares of Nike Inc (NKE.N) surged over 15% to a record high on Friday after the sportswear giant forecast full-year sales of more than $50 billion, riding on pent-up demand for sneakers and athletic gear from U.S. shoppers.
The company's fourth-quarter revenue also nearly doubled, topping $12 billion for the first time and overshadowing a weaker-than-anticipated performance in its fast-growing China market. read more
"The strong momentum in Nike's brand globally is more than offsetting pressure in China and supply chain constraints," Telsey Advisory analyst Cristina Fernandez said.
A rapid vaccination drive and the easing of restrictions in Europe and the United States have encouraged people to go on a shopping spree, unleashing demand for expensive items, including sneakers.
Those factors helped Nike more than make up for weak China sales, which were hit by calls to boycott global brands for their comments around forced labor in Xinjiang. read more
A man walks past a store of the sporting goods retailer Nike Inc at a shopping complex in Beijing, China March 25, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo
Still, analysts are optimistic of a swift demand rebound in the region as company executives noted that sales trends in China for June were already reaching 2020 levels.
"We're confident about what we're seeing in China ... We've been in China for over 40 years ... And today, we're the largest sport brand there," Nike Chief Executive John Donahoe said on Thursday. "We're a brand of China and for China."
At least 13 brokerages raised their price targets, with Stifel's $213 target the highest on the Street. The median target is $175.
Nike's shares were trading at $152.10, after hitting an all-time high of $154.18 earlier.
The jump also helped push the S&P 500 (.SPX) index to a record high, while lifting shares of German peers Adidas (ADSGn.DE) and Puma (PUMG.DE) about 6% and 2%, respectively.
"We are encouraged by increased certainty in the pace and strength of recovery, ... The worst is now behind (for Nike)," Barclays analyst Adrienne Yih said.
Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Opinion: Thinking about investing in Nike stock? Just do it — if you’re a long-term investor
The largest athletic footwear brand in the world, Nike is the category killer in running shoes and basketball kicks. Thanks to design prowess and sponsorships, Nike crushes the competition with popular shoes including Jordan, Air Max, Air Force 1 and Converse, a perennial favorite. Nike’s $37.4 billion in 2020 revenue was 35% greater than that of its closest competitor, Adidas AG ADDYY, .
Nike ships about 800 million pairs of shoes per year. It also sells sports apparel and equipment. Footwear and fashion are tough categories because consumers are fickle. But Nike’s track record and profitability metrics demonstrate that the company has the skills to hold its market share and pricing power. Here’s how Nike stacks up against competitors and similar apparel retailers:
Profitability, size and growth metrics
First-quarter sales growth of 3% doesn’t look great. North America revenues declined 10% and Europe was weak, too. But don’t get too hung up on this. This happened because of one-off problems: global container shortages and U.S. port congestion, and COVID-19 lockdowns. Nike projects 75% revenue growth in the second quarter as it laps a weak second-quarter of 2020.
Moreover, Nike is a reopening play that benefits from the desire of people to look good and exercise again as they emerge from lockdown. “Nike’s brand momentum is as strong as ever,” says the company’s CFO, Matt Friend.
Besides continually inventing popular shoes, Nike is carrying out a few tactical maneuvers to boost profits. It’s going directly to consumer via digital sales, as it trims the number of retail partners down to more prestigious names. This increases margins as it cuts out wholesalers and retailers, points out Jefferies analyst Randal Konik, who has a buy rating and a $192 price target on the stock. Long term, Nike wants to run half its sales through digital channels.
Nike gets around 60% of its revenue outside the U.S. As of the summer of 2020, it had 758 stores overseas and 338 in the U.S. This gives investors exposure to higher-growth foreign economies, where discretionary consumer sales benefit from an emerging middle-class trend. Sales in China grew 51% in the first quarter, for example. “China is a massive growth opportunity,” Konik says.
Cash and cash flow
Having a lot of cash and cash flow helps companies control their own destinies because they don’t need to rely on banks to fund growth. Nike has an edge here.
Famed investor Warren Buffett loves companies with protective moats. They create pricing power and make it hard for competitors to win market share. Nike’s brand power puts a wide moat around its business, notes Morningstar analyst David Swartz. “Nike has been the preferred sportswear brand in the world since the 1980s and that it will remain so for many years,” he says.
Nike gets its brand power from two other sources. The company sponsors many of the world’s most popular athletes, including LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Michael Jordan in basketball, baseball stars Mike Trout and Giancarlo Stanton, and tennis great Serena Williams.
Nike also employs a team of specialists in engineering, exercise, chemistry and design to deploy technology that differentiate its shoes with features such as pressurized air, and materials borrowed from the aerospace industry. Nike’s innovation allows it to maintain premium pricing. Shoes such as Nike Air Vapor Max sell for about $200.
Stock valuation and performance
Here’s how Nike stock stacks up against competitors and the market using some common valuation metrics:
Wall Street’s opinion
Here’s a summary of opinion among Wall Street analysts polled by FactSet:
A strong U.S. dollar would hurt Nike because the company generates so much of its earnings abroad. Also, consumers can be fickle and you never know when they will latch on to new trends. Nike’s margins might be pressured if commodity prices remain high or wages increase. Trade wars, tariffs and increased U.S. -China tensions also would hurt Nike.
- June 24 — Nike reports second-quarter earnings after the close.
- Sept. 20 — Nike reports third-quarter earnings.
Michael Brush is a columnist for MarketWatch. At the time of publication, he had no positions in any stocks mentioned in this column. Brush has suggested NKE, DECK and CROX in his stock newsletter, Brush Up on Stocks. Follow him on Twitter @mbrushstocks
Plus:Amazon and Apple are the most valuable brands in the world — but these Chinese companies are catching up
Also read: Is the reflation trade over? What stock-market investors need to watch
Nike shares fall as supply chain havoc leads retailer to slash revenue forecast
Analysts and investors had been expecting sales to take a temporary hit from the drop-off in manufacturing. The lockdowns are also impacting a number of other retailers, ranging from athleisure rival Lululemon to the high-end furniture chain RH.
Wall Street research firm BTIG earlier this month had downgraded Nike's stock, seeing order cancellations running through at least next spring.
"Over its history, Nike's stock has been most tightly correlated with sales growth, so with growing evidence that sales will likely stall, we believe Nike's stock will at best tread water until more clarity is had around its manufacturing issues," BTIG analyst Camilo Lyon said in a research note.
Nike shares are up about 13% year to date, as of Thursday's market close, but down about 9% from an all-time high reached in early August. That's when talk of the supply chain congestion started to pick up.
Nike said it ended the latest quarter with inventories of $6.7 billion, which was about flat from a year earlier, and down slightly from inventories of $6.9 billion in the prior period.
For the balance of this fiscal year, the company said, it sees demand outweighing supply. But it expects to return to more normalized inventory levels in fiscal 2023.
"Over the past 18 months, we've demonstrated our ability to manage through turbulence," Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe said Thursday. "And that's what we'll continue to do as we navigate through these current supply chain issues. We'll focus on what we can control."
Find the full press release from Nike here.
Stock articles nike
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