Nike Back on Top as Dow’s Best-Performing Stock

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Athletic gear maker Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) climbed over Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) last week to regain its ranking as the best-performing Dow Jones industrials stock for the year to date. Nike shares added 3.4% last week, while Apple dropped about 0.7% of its share price. So far in 2018, Nike stock is up 31.8%.

The second-best performer among the Dow index equities so far this year is Apple, which is up 27.7%. It is followed by Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), up 26.7%, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), up 26.5%, and Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK), up 22.7%. Of the 30 Dow stocks, 16 have managed to post a gain to date in 2018.

The blue-chip index added 121 points last week to close at 25,669.32, up about 0.5% compared to the previous Friday’s close. The Dow closed up less than 1% for the second quarter, and down 1.8% for the first six months of 2018. For the year to date, the index is up 3.9%, trailing both the S&P 500 (up 6.6%) and the Nasdaq Composite (up 13.4%).

Nike started the week with a bang. On Monday, analysts at Piper Jaffray and Susquehanna lifted their ratings on the stock. Piper Jaffray’s Erinn Murphy raised her rating on Nike from Neutral to Overweight and raised her price target from $72 to $93. Susquehanna analyst Sam Poser raised his rating from Neutral to Positive and lifted his price target from $78 to $93.

The company hit a speed bump on Wednesday when it closed some of its South Africa stores following a racist remark by a man who was reportedly married to Nike’s merchandising director for the country. The stores reopened Friday. The closures appear to have had only a temporary and modest effect on the stock price.

Shares closed Friday at $82.45, down about 0.6% for the day, in a 52-week range of $50.35 to $83.68. The stock’s consensus price target is $82.36, and the forward price-to-earnings ratio is 26.34.

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