Why Credit Suisse Is Calling for Nike to Run Ahead of Earnings

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Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) is scheduled to release its most recent quarterly results in the coming week, but one analyst has already weighed in on the apparel giant. As we all know, Nike was the worst performing Dow Jones Industrial Average stock in 2016, but so far in 2017 it has been one of the better performing Dow stocks. According to the analyst’s report, the company stands to run even more from here and earnings could just be the beginning.

Although the company still faces strong competition from Under Armour and Adidas, it seems that there are more positive trends that can carry Nike forward. Credit Suisse noted this and issued an Outperform rating and raised its price target to $67 from $60, implying upside of 18% from Monday’s closing price of $56.67.

Looking ahead to the third quarter, Credit Suisse expects global constant currency futures up 4% to 5% year over year. The firm estimates total North American futures to be up 1.4%, a rebound from the negative futures growth in the second quarter. China futures growth remains in double digits at up 11%, with Western Europe up 5%. Risks to futures numbers and estimates include changes in consumer spending preference for athletic apparel and elevated competitive headwinds.

Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for the fiscal third quarter call for $0.53 per share in earnings and $8.47 billion in revenue. The same period last year had earnings of $0.55 per share and $8.03 billion in revenue.

The brokerage firm said:

Earnings growth should also benefit from inventory rationalization initiatives in 2H16 and continued mix shift towards higher-margin DTC sales. Online sentiment data looks encouraging for the brand as well. In the near-term, we are more positive than the street in our 3Q17 and FY17 revenue and EPS expectations. Longer term, we believe the company can maintain high-single digit topline growth and teens EPS growth, making it a true standout in the softlines space. As a result, we reiterate our Outperform rating on the shares, adjust our estimates (FY18 EPS goes to $2.70 from $2.68) and raise our Target Price to $67 from $60. FY17 EPS goes to $2.37 (from $2.36) and FY19 EPS goes to $3.11 (from $3.06).

Consensus estimates call for $2.34 and $2.64 in earnings per share for 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Credit Suisse is becoming increasingly bullish on Nike as it sees a series of incremental revenue catalysts that suggest the recent period of market share losses will moderate in 2017. Credit Suisse expects these catalysts to reaccelerate developed market revenue growth. In the report, the firm listed the five incremental revenue catalysts for Nike as follows:

  • Product innovation platform: Air VaporMax
  • Rationalization of pricing architecture for premium product
  • Celebrity collaborations added to the roster
  • NBA license takeover in the second half of 2017
  • Moderating competitive headwinds from Under Armour and Adidas

Shares of Nike closed Friday at $57.80, with a consensus analyst price target of $62.47 and a 52-week trading range of $49.01 to $65.44.