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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We hear stories all the time from investors expressing regret about "missing a run" in a stock. This is often a painful situation where we're reminded how clear the review mirror is.
But I've learned this lesson long ago. I don't expect "what ifs" will cease to be a part of the investment process anytime soon. But this still doesn't make me feel better about my decision last year to wait on
Nike(NKE - Get Report).
More than once I've had an opportunity to jump in on this stock at much cheaper levels and I didn't "do it." This was prior to the company enacting a 2-for-1 stock split last December. As with rivals
Under Armour(UA) and
Adidas(ADDYY), I've spent the past year thinking that Nike's struggles in China would set the company back. In my case, I figured it would present an opening to buy lower. I was wrong.
Remarkably, since Nike reached a pre-split low of $89.65 ($44.82 adjusted) per share on Nov. 14, the stock has surged more than 40%, including gains of 25% year-to-date. After the company's strong close to its fiscal year, during which fourth-quarter results beat on both the top and bottom lines, I don't see shares of Nike getting cheap anytime soon.
The company posted 7% growth in revenue, which was roughly 2% higher on a constant currency basis. Growth was led by an 8% year-over-year increase in footwear, while apparel sales surged 20%. I've always believed that Nike was underrated in this category. Despite the strong showing in apparel, I still believe Nike management has room to add some serious pressure on
Lululemon(LULU) if it wanted.
Nike is also doing well with its direct-to-consumer business, which grew 16%, helped by a strong 11% jump in North American same-store-sales for Nike-owned stores. I don't want to understate how impressive of an accomplishment this is, especially given the global economic headwinds that we've seen.
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The fact that this company has now posted 14 consecutive quarters of double-digit same-store sales growth in North America is a marvel. Again, I can't say that I'm surprised. But I've also been waiting for Nike to trip. It hasn't. Given the 8% increase in Nike's futures orders, with by 12% growth in North America, there are no meaningful signs of slowing down. This is even with areas such as Western Europe and China posting flat futures.