Nike Runs With Shoe Sales: What Wall Street's Saying

 

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Nike's (NKEfourth-quarter and fiscal 2015 results sent the stock sprinting higher in after-hours trading Thursday, leaving analysts celebrating a return to growth for sales of the company's core product but warning about the continued impact of a strong dollar.

The Beaverton, Ore.-based manufacturer of athletic shoes and apparel said revenue was up for both its Nike- and Converse-branded products by 13% and 14% respectively. That growth, coupled with a lower-than-expected tax rate for its fiscal year, more than offset some higher expenses, such as increased selling costs, the company said in a statement.

The dollar's position put pressure on results, particularly estimates for future orders. Worldwide orders through November 2015 were $13.5 billion. Not including foreign exchange fluctuations, that's 13% higher for the quarter; with the currency changes, orders rose 2%. Analysts were expecting an adjusted 10.4% for the fourth, according to data from Consensus Metrix.

After trading closed Thursday, Nike reported adjusted earnings per share of 98 cents on revenue of $7.78 billion for the quarter, higher than the 83 cents on $7.69 billion predicted by an average of analyst estimates from Thomson Reuters. For the year, earnings per share were up 25% to $3.70 on net income of $3.3 billion.

Nike shares are currently up 4.6% at $110 and are up over 14% for the year to date.

When it reported earnings for its third quarter, the company noted a drop in sales of its running shoes as it faced competition from rivals such as Under Armour (UA) and Adidas (ADDYY). 

This quarter, some analysts used continued demand for the company's products in both the U.S. and abroad, including a rebound in its running footwear arm, to justify higher price targets. Others upped their price targets but kept middling ratings, citing challenges including a strong U.S. dollar and congestion at shipping hubs on the West Coast.

Here's what a few had to say:

Credit Suisse analyst Christian Buss (Outperform, $110 PT)

"Nike continues to exceed expectations, beating on both the top and bottom line, even as we adjust for F/X gains and a lower than expected tax rate. The demand outlook remains bright with global futures accelerating sequentially and will likely see ongoing support from an expanded category offensive strategy within Europe and China. Both regions continue to exhibit healthy sales gains and improving margin profiles which we view as a key driver to sustained double-digit EPS growth. We raise our target price to $110 from $106 and reiterate our outperform rating."

Canaccord Genuity analyst Camilo Lyon (Hold, $104 PT)

"...stripping out the below-the-line gains, EPS was in line with our estimate. Guidance for 2016 was little changed from last quarter: full year sales are still planned to be up MSD (LDD cc), gross margin +50bps, SG&A growth of MSD. Separately, the company now expects to have $200M in other income mostly related to hedging gains, which we estimate will add 14c to EPS. Undoubtedly, NKE is posting impressive results, however, at a peak valuation of 26x forward estimates (a 57% premium to the S&P 500 vs. an average 25% premium) we prefer to leverage NKE's product innovation via the footwear retailers (FL and FINL). While we credit NKE's consistency of execution, we maintain our hold rating but raise our price target to $104 from $96."

Jefferies analyst Edward Plank (Buy, $122 PT)

"Nike exceeded expectations on nearly all fronts in F4Q, bolstering our confidence on the co's momentum heading into FY16. While there  are some unusual factors ahead, largely FX related, we believe underlying demand is quite healthy across categories and geographies  and are particularly encouraged by the potential to expand margins in the coming years. We continue to view Nike as a solid long-term  play for large-cap growth. Reiterate Buy, PT to $122." Barclays analyst Matthew McClintock (Overweight, $110 PT)

"Nike continues to invest in its digital ecosystem with a particular focus on the rapidly growing women's business by launching an Instagram shop and the Better for It campaign. 4Q marked the 15th consecutive quarter of DD growth in basketball with the introduction of the LeBron 12, Kyrie 1 and Air Jordan 29. The company noted a return to growth in the core running footwear business (mid-tier price points) across all markets, led by core performance styles such as the Downshifter and the Wind Flow. The running apparel business is performing well (including product such as Dri-Fit knit tops and Epic Lux Tights) and the company expects momentum to continue into fiscal 2016, particularly regarding innovation heading into the Olympics. Despite solid performance during the quarter, the company faced a meaningful headwind from West Coast port congestion and expects this to continue for the next several quarters."

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