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3 Reasons Why Growth Investors Shouldn't Overlook Nike (NKE)

Zacks Equity Research

Growth investors focus on stocks that are seeing above-average financial growth, as this feature helps these securities garner the market's attention and deliver solid returns. But finding a growth stock that can live up to its true potential can be a tough task.

By their very nature, these stocks carry above-average risk and volatility. Moreover, if a company's growth story is over or nearing its end, betting on it could lead to significant loss.

However, it's pretty easy to find cutting-edge growth stocks with the help of the Zacks Growth Style Score (part of the Zacks Style Scores system), which looks beyond the traditional growth attributes to analyze a company's real growth prospects.

Nike (NKE) is one such stock that our proprietary system currently recommends. The company not only has a favorable Growth Score, but also carries a top Zacks Rank.

Research shows that stocks carrying the best growth features consistently beat the market. And returns are even better for stocks that possess the combination of a Growth Score of A or B and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).

While there are numerous reasons why the stock of this athletic apparel maker is a great growth pick right now, we have highlighted three of the most important factors below:

Earnings Growth

Earnings growth is arguably the most important factor, as stocks exhibiting exceptionally surging profit levels tend to attract the attention of most investors. And for growth investors, double-digit earnings growth is definitely preferable, and often an indication of strong prospects (and stock price gains) for the company under consideration.

While the historical EPS growth rate for Nike is 9.3%, investors should actually focus on the projected growth. The company's EPS is expected to grow 19.1% this year, crushing the industry average, which calls for EPS growth of 6.9%.

Impressive Asset Utilization Ratio

Growth investors often overlook asset utilization ratio, also known as sales-to-total-assets (S/TA) ratio, but it is an important feature of a real growth stock. This metric exhibits how efficiently a firm is utilizing its assets to generate sales.

Right now, Nike has an S/TA ratio of 1.67, which means that the company gets $1.67 in sales for each dollar in assets. Comparing this to the industry average of 1.3, it can be said that the company is more efficient.

In addition to efficiency in generating sales, sales growth plays an important role. And Nike is well positioned from a sales growth perspective too. The company's sales are expected to grow 8% this year versus the industry average of 2%.

Promising Earnings Estimate Revisions

Beyond the metrics outlined above, investors should consider the trend in earnings estimate revisions. A positive trend is a plus here. Empirical research shows that there is a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.

There have been upward revisions in current-year earnings estimates for Nike. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has surged 1.4% over the past month.

Bottom Line

While the overall earnings estimate revisions have made Nike a Zacks Rank #2 stock, it has earned itself a Growth Score of A based on a number of factors, including the ones discussed above.

You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

This combination indicates that Nike is a potential outperformer and a solid choice for growth investors.


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