NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Nike ( NKE) rose in late trades on Monday after the maker of athletic footwear and apparel posted better than expected quarterly results on strong revenue growth and expense control. The company reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of $594 million, or $1.24 a share, for the three months ended May 31 on revenue of $5.77 billion, up from a year-ago equivalent profit of $522 million, or $1.06 a share, on revenue of $5.08 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for earnings of $1.16 a share on revenue of $5.53 billion. The stock was last quoted at $85.07, up 4.2%, on volume of around 885,000, according to Nasdaq.com. "In fiscal year 2011, we delivered exceptional results in extraordinary times," said Mark Parker, the company's president and CEO. "Our business is organized to drive growth across multiple brands, geographies and categories, as we manage through the ever-changing macroeconomic landscape." Gross margins came in at 44.3%, down 310 basis points, mainly because of higher product costs. Nike said it also experienced elevated freight costs, higher inventory obsolescence reserves and rising royalty expenses related to sales of endorsed team products. The company said futures orders for Nike brand products totaled $10.3 billion for the period stretching from June through November, up 15% from the same period a year earlier. Nike has topped Wall Street's consensus expectations in seven of the past eight quarters, but it missed last time around, posting a profit of $1.08 a share in the March quarter, 4 cents below the average analysts' view. Based on Monday's regular session close at $81.62, the stock was up more than 15% in the past year but topped out at $92.49 in late December and is actually down 5% since the start of 2011. Wall Street was bullish on Nike ahead of the report with 15 of the 21 analysts covering the company at strong buy (10) or buy (5), and the median 12-month price target sitting at $96.50. Jefferies previewed the results on June 22, saying it "believe
s Nike is positioned to capitalize on a strong product cycle still in its early innings."
The firm saw gross margins as the big headline from this report, noting that management lowered its outlook over the next several quarters back in mid-March when it reported its fiscal third-quarter results. "Expectations were brought down unexpectedly last quarter when management guided gross margins to be down over 300bps for the next several quarters, until Spring 2012 when price increases are implemented, costs stabilize and air freight usage moderates," Jefferies said. "Heading into the quarter, we look for more specific color on Nike's gross margin guidance, which is one of the most conservative in the footwear/apparel universe." Shares of Under Armour ( UA) got a slight bounce following the news, edging up 1.4% to $75.30 on volume of less than 10,000. The Baltimore-based company is slated to report its fiscal second-quarter results on July 26, and Wall Street is expecting a profit of 8 cents a share on revenue of $273.4 million in the June-ending quarter. Under Armour shares are up 35% so far in 2011, but it's pulled back since hitting a 52-week high of $80 on April 25. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org