NikeNike ( NKE) has enjoyed some strong performance in 2013, rallying more than 23% year-to-date on investors' hopes of a global recovery. Nike is the athletic shoe company -- the firm is the largest designer, manufacturer and distributor of shoes and apparel in the world. The athletic apparel stock is also one of the most popular brands in the world, with its "Swoosh" emblem able to hike the price of any T-shirt or baseball cap it's printed on. >>5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying While the start of football season should help to spur the fruits of Nike's new five-year apparel contract with the NFL, Nike's true growth potential hinges on growth in the middle classes of China, India, and Latin America. As upwardly mobile consumers seek out attainable status symbols, Nike's products are right in front of them. From a financial standpoint, Nike's balance sheet is immaculate. The firm carries around $6 billion in cash that offsets a "paltry" $1.3 billion debt load. While shares are hardly cheap at NKE's current valuation, the firm's revenue trajectory makes up for it. Currently, Nike pays out a 21-cent quarterly dividend for a 1.32% yield; investors should look for a hike to that payout in the near-term.
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