NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Nike Inc  (NKE) are lower by 0.12% to $104.48 in early market trading Thursday, despite receiving a positive start by analysts at Jefferies this morning.

Analysts at the firm initiated coverage on Nike shares with a "buy" rating, citing its bright business outlook.

Jefferies set a $120 price target, and sees the athletic shoe and apparel maker as a solid long-term play for investors.

Analysts added that the firm's research showed continued strong preference for the Nike brand, despite rising competition in the space.

Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike is engaged in design, development, marketing and selling of athletic footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services.

Nike sells its products to retail accounts, through Nike owned retail stores and internet websites. It focuses on product offerings in eight categories including running, basketball, soccer, men's training, women's training, action sports, sportswear, and golf.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates NIKE INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate NIKE INC (NKE) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook."

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