Morgan Stanley downgrades Under Armour rating

Morgan Stanley analyst downgrades Under Armour, says he'd been too optimistic on profit growth

Associated Press

Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Parkhill lowered his rating on athletic clothing maker Under Armour Inc. on Monday, saying profit growth won't be as strong as he thought before.

THE OPINION: Recent problems with its supply chain could weigh on profitability, and Parkhill now expects that the company will spend more on marketing and to grow overseas. He also is concerned that sales growth for the company's running shoes has slowed.

Parkhill lowered his rating to "Equal Weight" from "Overweight," although he said he is still confident in the "long-term viability of the brand."

He cut his per-share earnings estimate for this year to $1.52 from $1.63 and to $1.87 from $2.11 for 2014. Analysts polled by FactSet expect profit of $1.50 per share in 2013 and $1.89 per share next year.

But other analysts are more optimistic. Credit Suisse's Christian Buss last week upgraded the company, saying a bigger sales staff and the investments in its supply chain would benefit growth.

THE STOCK: Shares fell $1.07, or 2.2 percent, to $48.28 by early afternoon. Its shares have been sliding since September, when it hit a 52-week peak of $60.96.

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