Nike stock slipped by as much as 4.2% to $62.18 per share during early trading today after the athletic shoe and apparel maker reported better-than expected third quarter earnings results. Shares did recover slightly as positive analyst reports started making the rounds, but they are still in the red as of this writing, down 2.4% at $63.34.
Analysts from Morgan Stanley trimmed their price target for the stock, although they believe the company is “poised to win gold” this year. Trading volume on Nike stock was heavy today with about 17.24 million shares already having changed hands as of 1:20 p.m. Eastern, compared to the average daily volume of 9.99 million shares.
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Nike stock price target cut to $69
In a report dated March 23, Morgan Stanley analyst Jay Sole and team said they cut their price target for Nike stock 1% to $69 per share, which represents upside to 13% for the shares, but reiterated their Overweight rating on it. They said the third quarter report confirms their view that the long-term story is “on track. The company reported earnings of 55 cents per share for its third quarter of fiscal 2016, marking a 22% increase in earnings. Wall Street had been expecting earnings of 48 cents per share.
Sole said a better-than-expected gross margin, selling, general, and administrative expenses, and tax rates drove the earnings beat. He added that there were “puts and takes” in last night’s report, just as there are usually in the company’s earnings reports, but they think the general picture is still “very strong.”
They said last night’s report indicates that Nike’s inventory is “coming back in-line” and that management’s guide indicates that the company is “firmly on track to hit its $50B FY20 revenue goal.”
Nike stock expected to move higher throughout the year
The Morgan Stanley team expects Nike stock to grind higher throughout the calendar year. They said the market’s expectations were extremely high going into last night’s earnings report, so they said the shares might take a “short-term breather” if investors viewed management’s guide as weak. They also said though that the outlook is probably conservative as Nike has come out ahead of its initial full-year earnings per share growth guide by 400 basis points on average over the last three years. They expect this trend to continue in fiscal 2017.
Additionally, they noted that the fiscal 2017 guidance doesn’t appear to imply any upside for margins even though Nike’s sales have been shifting over to channels and regions with higher margins. The athletic apparel maker has also taking steps to control costs, and they said Nike stock usually outperforms the S&P 500 by 700 basis points in the six months before a major sports event like the Rio Olympics, which are coming up later this year.