2013 has been a blockbuster year for Under Armour (UA). Shares of the $9 billion athletic apparel brand have rallied 78% since the calendar flipped over to January, besting the S&P's impressive climb by a factor of three. Still, that momentum hasn't scares off the shorts -- it's only made them more eager to bet on a crash in UA. As I write, Under Armour sports a short interest ratio of 10.99.
UA started off making niche apparel for hardcore athletes, but it's emerged as one of the most exciting mainstream brands out there. That brand strength has been one of the keys that's helped Under Armour hold its own against the likes of incumbents such as Nike (NKE). The firm's extension in to new categories like footwear about five years ago should continue to drive top-line growth and premium dollars from consumers who see Under Armour as a performance brand.
UA has invested wisely in endorsement costs, opting to partner with younger athletes early in their careers, and courting collegiate sports. Hunting apparel has big a big growth segment for UA, one that conventional sports apparel makers have generally missed out on. As consumer spending continues to warm, UA should continue to get a bigger piece of the sports apparel pie. That's especially true as the firm expands its reach overseas where the Nikes and Reeboks of the world earn most of their revenues.
This is one serious momentum stock right now -- and that makes it a prime short squeeze candidate.