Why Nike’s Earnings Are Better Than They Look

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Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) reported fiscal third-quarter 2018 results after markets closed Thursday. The athletic gear maker reported a diluted net loss per share of $0.57 on revenue of $9 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported adjusted EPS of $0.68 on revenue of $8.43 billion. Third-quarter results compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $0.53 and $8.85 billion in revenue.

Excluding a charge of $1.25 per share related to effects of changes to U.S. tax laws, Nike would have posted earnings of $0.68 per share.

Revenues were up 3% year over year but gross margins slipped by 70 basis points to 43.8% due to unfavorable foreign exchange rates that were partially offset by lower product costs. Pre-tax income dipped 12% to $1.2 billion as revenue growth was more than offset by lower gross margin, higher SG&A expense, and lower other income.

Nike chairman Mark Parker said:

NIKE’s Consumer Direct Offense drove strong double-digit growth across our international geographies, led by Greater China. As we close Q3, we now see a significant reversal of trend in North America, as momentum accelerates through the scaling of new innovation platforms and differentiated NIKE Consumer Experiences expand across the marketplace.

Sales in China rose 24% year over year while U.S. sales dipped 6%.

The company’s inventories were up 9% year over year and cash on hand totaled $4.8 billion, down $1.4 billion compared with the same period last year.

Nike repurchased 14.6 million shares of its common stock during the quarter for approximately $962 million. To date the company has repurchases shares valued at about $7.9 billion against an authorized total of $12 billion.

The company did not offer any guidance, but consensus estimates call for fourth-quarter earnings per share of $0.73 and revenues of $9.32 billion. For the full year Nike is expected to post per share earnings of $2.30 and revenues of $35.87.

The solid report reversed nearly 2% loss in Thursday’s after hours trading into a gain of more than 4.4%. Shares closed at $64.42 and traded after-hours at $67.28 in a 52-week range of $50.35 to $70.25. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock was $68.68 before results were announced.

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