Updated from 8:32 a.m. to include additional information from Deutsche Bank analyst.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Nike (NKE) shares were falling sharply in trading on Friday, after the athletic apparel company posted third-quarter results that were better than anticipated but guidance concerns spooked investors.

For the quarter ended Feb. 28, Nike earned 76 cents a share on revenue of $6.97 billion, handily beating analysts' estimates of 72 cents a share on $6.69 billion in revenue. The company noted futures orders, which are orders for Nike-branded merchandise for March through July, rose 14% globally, aided by a boost in Western Europe, where it saw a 30% rise.

"Our strong Q3 results demonstrate our relentless focus on delivering innovations that resonate with consumers," said Mark Parker, president and CEO of Nike, in a press release.  "Despite macroeconomic challenges, NIKE delivers consistent results because we focus on the biggest opportunities for growth while we manage risk across our diverse global portfolio. This is how we continue to drive long-term value for our shareholders."

Shares fell 3.8% to $76.31 in early market trading Friday, after closing Thursday at $79.27.

Despite the strong third-quarter results and futures orders, Nike warned that significant currency fluctuations would impact next year's results. On a conference call, Chief Financial Officer Donald Blair said the devaluation of currencies around the world compared to the U.S. dollar would be "a significant drag on next year's reported revenue, gross margin and profit growth."

The company also noted that China, from where it gets a significant portion of its revenue, would be weak this quarter, either unchanged or slightly down.

Despite the concerns about China, it appears other events, including the World Cup, which is being held in June and July in Brazil, have helped Nike's future orders. Nike is spending a quite a bit of money on the World Cup, noting the company's demand creation expense was $733 million during the quarter, up 18%, "driven by marketing support for key product launches, the upcoming World Cup and investments in retail product presentation for wholesale accounts."

Following the results and the conference call, analysts were by and large positive on the company, with several raising price targets going into the World Cup. Here's what a few of them had to say:

Credit Suisse analyst Christina Buss (Neutral, $80 PT)

"Nike reported impressive revenue and earnings upside this quarter. Quality of earnings growth was high, with revenue exceeding expectations across channels and geographies. We are increasingly compelled by demand momentum as a result. However, top-line strength is unlikely flow through to earnings power near-term given accelerated investment in
support of major sporting events (World Cup, Olympics). When combined with what we view as aggressive valuation, we see upside to shares as limited. With roll-forward to CY15 valuation, we raise our target price to $80 from $72."

UBS analyst Michael Binetti (Buy, $86 PT)

"In our view, NT stock upside could be limited due to: 1) futures that are likely to decelerate in F4Q; 2) FX pressures limiting NT EPS upside. At Thursday's close Nike's stock traded at 24.7x our fwd EPS est (3-yr avg P/E: 19.3x)-leaving less room for upside until visibility toward a futures or EPS acceleration improves. That said, NKE remains a most-preferred consistent LT growth story-currently limited only by macro pressures, w/virtually no change in the organic growth rate. We continue to rate the stock a Buy."

Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser (Buy, $85 PT)

"Nike continues to position itself well for long-term growth. Unfortunately, FX headwinds, especially in emerging markets, will impact FY15 results. Nike is controlling what it can control through strong product innovation and superior brand discipline. The 14% increase in currency-neutral future orders and the 14% FX neutral sales results in 3Q14 are loud indications of the strength of the Nike brand."

Canaccord Genuity analyst Carmillo Lyon (Neutral, $71 PT)

"NKE reported F3Q results of 76c vs. our/consensus 66c/72c estimate. A push-out of World Cup expenses (+9c) into Q4 comprised the largest contribution to the beat (relative to our model). Additionally, stronger sales growth (+2c) and lower taxes (+3c) were partially offset by less gross margin expansion (-1c) and higher other expense (-3c). The solid sales
momentum NKE is experiencing across product categories (e.g., basketball, running, footwear, apparel) and geographies (NA, Western Europe, and Emerging Markets) coupled with 14% futures growth, is impressive. That said, FX headwinds hurt Q3 results and will continue to mount through F2015 with added pressure from continued investments in women's, DTC, and digital. As such, F2015 EPS growth is now likely at ~12% with little upside opportunity. Given NKE's premium 24.5x valuation, we prefer to leverage its product strength via the retailers (FL and FINL) and as thus maintain our HOLD rating."

Deutsche Bank analyst Dave Weiner (Buy, $85 PT)

"Once again, the quarter's results & commentary were strong/above expectations, but out-period guide from FX & EPS flow-through weighs modestly on the stock after-hours. To follow, we brief the positives & risks from the release, but continue to like Nike stock for (1) impressive core rev. growth (units & ASPs), (2) global share potential, (3) ongoing positive channel/product/geo. GM shifts, and (4) incremental opportunities from a China reset & Flyknit/3D printing/manf. initiatives. We trim EPS in-line with new plan, but maintain $85 PT."

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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