Nike's price edged up 0.4% to $80.75 at the close of trading after Cowen boosted its rating on the stock to outperform from perform, while raising its price target to $90 a share from $80.
Cowen cited the company's Speed initiative, with includes doubling the speed to market for its athletic footwear products by slashing the "product creation timeline by over 50%," Nike noted in a presentation to investors.
Cowen analyst John Kernan said the initiatives could help Nike boost earnings per share to $5 and free cash flow to $6 per share.
"We view Nike gross margin and the concept of Speed as key catalysts to near-term and multiyear upside," Kernan wrote.
A promising lineup of new products also helped boost Nike's ratings profile, according to Cowen.
Sneaker News' Jan. 2 article, "The 10 Most Anticipated Shoes Of 2019," included nine Nike products, Kernan noted.
Nike's financial performance has also been on a streak, with gross margins increasing 79 basis points, with higher average selling price contributing 200 basis points, the most in three years, Cowen reported.
"Prospects remain solid for continued higher full price sell through and ASP lift, which could drive gross margin above expectations," Kernan wrote.