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Wall Street Remains Divided On Nike

Brett Hershman

Despite the apparel maker closing 2018 with strong second-quarter performance, Wall Street analysts are notably divided on Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE) this week. 

While HSBC upgraded the stock from Hold to Buy rating this week and lifted its price target from $92 to $95, Baird went in the opposite direction, taking a neutral stance on Nike

BofA Stays Bearish 

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Robert Ohmes reiterated an Underperform rating on Nike with a $55 price target.

Although Nike wholesale sales were up 9 percent and direct-to-consumer grew by 14 percent in the second quarter, Ohmes said he expects Nike sales and earnings growth to decelerate due to market share pressures and intensifying competition.

“We see downside to NKE’s current P/E multiple given market share pressure in the U.S. and difficult international comparisons, which offset strong direct-to-consumer momentum and strength in China."

Baird: Valuation Too High

Baird Equity Research downgraded Nike from Outperform to Neutral and lowered the price target from $87 to $82, arguing that while Nike's business does not face a harsh threat, its valuation is overstretched.  

Cowen Projects Gross Margin Inflection 

Cowen analyst John Kernan held steady on Nike, maintaining a Market Perform rating with an $80 price target.

Nike’s gross margin guidance could be conservative, the analyst said. 

“We believe direct-to-consumer expansion and NKE’s manufacturing revolution could create a multiyear inflection in gross margin past prior peaks to reach $4.75-plus in EPS potential through FY23E." 

Nike could return $24 billion to shareholders over the next five years through share repurchases and dividends, Kernan said. 

The Price Action 

Nike shares were up 0.24 percent at $76.61 at the time of publication Friday. 

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Photo courtesy of Nike. 

Latest Ratings for NKE

Date Firm Action From To
Jan 2019 Needham Upgrades Hold Buy
Jan 2019 HSBC Upgrades Hold Buy
Jan 2019 Baird Downgrades Outperform Neutral

View More Analyst Ratings for NKE
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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