FBR Weighs in Athletic Apparel Powers Houses: Nike Inc (NKE) and Under Armour Inc (UA)

Susan Anderson of FBR & Co. weighed in on iconic brands Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) and Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) with differing views. While Anderson is cautious on Nike, noting that the company is fully valued, she remains bullish on Under Armour’s potential growth in Europe.

Anderson has a 59% success rate recommending stocks with a 5% one-year average return per recommendation.

Anderson stat

Nike Inc

Nike released fiscal third quarter 2016 earnings on Tuesday, coming in ahead of Susan Anderson’s estimates. The company posted earnings per share of $0.55, beating Anderson’s estimate of $049. The analyst highlights inventory levels and increased sales as growth drivers, but she remains cautious on the stock, noting that the company’s “valuation is relatively full.”

The analyst attributes Nike’s earnings beat to “better-than-expected [gross margins], SG&A, a lower tax rate, and share repurchases.” However, Anderson is quick to point out that the company posted revenue of $8 billion, while analysts were expecting a figure closer to $8.2 billion. On the bright side, it’s worth noting that revenue derived from the company’s Women’s apparel grew in double digits for the ninth consecutive quarter, and revenue from China increased 23% despite foreign exchange headwinds.

Looking forward, Anderson explains that Nike’s inventories are “improving,” but “remain elevated.” She explains, “We believe inventories remain relatively fresh. Management is committed to clearing excess inventory via factory stores and selectively utilizing third-party value channels and believes that inventories will be healthy by 4Q-end.” Anderson is also looking forward to Nike’s new products, which include new running shoes, football cleats, and basketball shoes. For the summer, the analyst points to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil and 2016 Euro Cup in France. Anderson comments, “We believe these are strong YOY revenue growth opportunities though we expect to see higher demand creation expense in F1H17 as a result.”

Although Nike is in a good position, the analyst continues to believe the company is fully valued. As a result, Anderson maintains a Market Perform rating with a $63 price target.

According to TipRanks, only one other analyst is neutral on Nike while 16 are bullish. The average 12-month price target between these 17 analysts is $71.71, marking a 16% potential upside from current levels.

Under Armour Inc

As Under Armour increases its presence in Europe, Anderson conducted a survey for the second year in a row to gauge how receptive Europeans are to the brand. The analyst focused on Germany, which is the second-largest sports market in Europe, following the U.K. Anderson was pleased to see that Germans are becoming more aware of Under Armour and is bullish on the company’s future in Europe.

Anderson’s survey results lead her to believe in the company’s ability “to drive growth in Europe.” The new figures indicate that 30% of respondents are aware of the UA brand, compared to 25% last year. The analyst adds, “Of those who knew of the brand, 47% were more likely to purchase UA products this year, compared to only 12% who were less likely.” Thanks to these figures, Anderson is optimistic that UA will be able to grow significantly in Germany, the U.K., and France. The company is poised to take advantage of a growing athletic apparel industry as well as compete with Reebok and Puma.

Overall, the analyst is bullish on Under Armour’s potential in the European market due to its setup, which is “vertically integrated” with a “local sales staff that is aligned with UA’s goals.” Anderson points out other promising factors, including UA’s new European offices and showrooms, increasing brand awareness, and increasing product assortment. Since Under Armour is poised for growth in Europe, Anderson reiterates an Outperform rating on the company with a $115 price target.

According to TipRanks, 10 analysts are bullish on Under Armour, 1 is bearish, and 2 remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target between these 13 analysts is $97.91, marking a 20% potential upside from current levels.

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