7. NIKE ( NKE) is a footwear and apparel giant engaged in the design, development and marketing of footwear, apparel, equipment and other consumer accessories. NIKE sells athletic footwear and athletic apparel through retail accounts, retail stores, Internet sales, and through a mix of independent distributors and licensees worldwide.

Of the 23 analysts covering the stock, 65% recommend a buy and the rest rate a hold. Its average 12-month price target is $100.58, up 21.1% from the current price, as per a Bloomberg consensus.

For the first quarter of 2012, the athletic shoemaker reported 18% surge in revenue to $6.1 billion. Net income grew 15% to $645 million, while diluted earnings per share rose 19% to $1.36. At the end of the quarter, worldwide futures orders for the NIKE brand athletic footwear and apparel, scheduled for delivery from Sep. 2011 through Jan. 2012 totaled $8.5 billion, indicating 16% growth from the same period last year.

NIKE recently announced the launch of its venture capital arm Sustainable Business & Innovation Lab to invest in start-ups in renewable energy, efficient manufacturing and healthy lifestyles.

For fiscal 2012, sales are forecast to rise as demand strengthens in North America. Revenue for the year is now seen increasing in the low- to mid-teen percentage range as compared to the previous range of high-single to low-double digits provided in June. Gross margins are also estimated to improve in the second half of the year.

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