Nike Returns as Dow’s Top-Performing Stock

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Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) was the Dow Jones industrial average’s top-performing stock for most of July, following a reported resurgence in U.S. sales during its fiscal fourth quarter. For the year to date, Nike stock is up just over 29%, and shares added 2.5% last week.

The second-best performer among the Dow index equities so far this year is Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), which is up 27.3%. That is followed by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), up 22.6%, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), up 22.6%, and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH), up 18.1%. Of the 30 Dow stocks, 16 have managed to post a gain to date in 2018.

The blue-chip index dropped nearly 150 points last week to close at 25,313.14, down about 0.6% compared to the previous Friday’s close. The Dow closed up less than 1% for the second quarter but down 1.8% for the first six months of 2018. For the year to date, the index is up 2.0%, trailing both the S&P 500 (up 5.1%) and the Nasdaq Composite (up 11.9%).

Nike set a new 52-week high Thursday afternoon despite a stellar earnings report from rival Adidas. Also on Thursday, Nike was named one of the Drucker Institute’s Management Top 250 companies. The company ranked second in the consumer goods category, behind only Procter & Gamble.

Shares dipped on Friday following the announcement of a new lawsuit against the company alleging discrimination on the basis of gender in pay and career advancement. Included in the lawsuit were allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior. Plaintiffs are seeking class-action status for the suit.

On one hand, the company gets top scores for management. On the other, it draws another lawsuit based on discrimination and harassment against women. Nike already has removed more than 10 executives following complaints about inappropriate workplace behavior.

Nike shares closed Friday at $80.73 in a 52-week trading range of $50.35 to $81.88. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $81.24, and the forward price-to-earnings ratio is 25.88.