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Nike shares spike as profit beats estimates

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September 27
8:30 AM 2014

Nike Inc's (NKE.N) shares rose as much as 11 percent to a record high after the world's largest sportswear maker reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, prompting at least 13 brokerages to raise their price targets on its stock.

The stock was the biggest contributor to the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index's .DJI rise of 0.45 percent at midday.

The brokerages raised their price targets on the stock to as much as $110. The median price target on it is $93.00, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"Nike's ability to refresh the pipeline, coupled with improving distribution/digital, continues to support pricing power and global market share gains even in perceived mature markets," Janney Capital Markets analysts wrote in a note.

They raised their rating on the stock to "buy" from "neutral".

Strength in wholesale orders underscores Nike's brand momentum relative to other market participants, Stifel Nicolaus analysts wrote in a note, raising their price target on the stock to $100 from $89.

Rival Adidas AG (ADSGn.DE) in July cut its revenue and profit targets for the year, blaming a plunge in sales at its golf business and its exposure to a weak Russian market.

Higher average selling prices, improvement in the high-margin China business, and longer-term manufacturing improvements should drive Nike's gross margin higher, Wells Fargo analyst Evren Kopelman wrote in a note.

Nike's gross margin grew to 46.6 percent from 44.9 percent in the first quarter even as the company spent heavily on promotions during the soccer World Cup.

The company reported on Thursday net earnings of $962 million, or $1.09 per share, for the first quarter ended Aug. 31, above the average analyst estimate of 88 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Nike said its market share in Europe increased and sales of higher-margin products such as Flyknit soccer boots rose.

Shares of Nike were up 10.6 percent at $88.19 on the New York Stock Exchange, near their all-time high of $88.79 hit earlier.

Up to Thursday's close, the stock had risen about 16 percent in 12 months.

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