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Following the better-than-expected results for first-quarter fiscal 2014, the shares of global sport equipment and apparel retailer, Nike Inc. (NKE - Analyst Report), soared to a new 52-week high of $75.25 on Friday, Sep 27. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company closed trade at $73.64, representing a solid return of 4.7% from the closing price of $70.34 on Sep 26, and gained about 43.5% year-to-date.

Average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months stands at approximately 4,016K. Moreover, the company currently trades at a forward P/E of 22.9x, an 18.7% premium to the peer group average of 19.3x.

An impressive record of beating the quarterly earnings expectations, sustained focus on brand building and operation expansion initiatives in the emerging markets were the major drivers behind the stock’s strong price appreciation.

Nike’s strong portfolio of globally recognized brands – such as Nike, Converse, Chuck Taylor, Hurley, All Star, One Star, Star Chevron, and Jack Purcell – and its focus on innovation have helped strengthen its leadership position.

Nike is striving for opportunities to expand its global footprint and increase its market share by acquiring new brands, developing its direct-to-customer business and divesting underperforming brands. Collectively, these strategies position the company well among competitors such as Adidas AG and Brown Shoe Co. Inc. (BWS - Snapshot Report).

Moreover, this footwear and athletic apparel retailer has outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the trailing 5 quarters with an average beat of 9.9%. In the recently concluded quarter, it posted a positive earnings surprise of 10.3% and a 37.0% increase in earnings per share, aided by healthy top-line growth, improved margins, reduced tax rate and lower share count. Net sales rose 8.0% year over year, driven by the high demand for the NIKE brand.

Apart from strong fourth-quarter results, Nike’s growth prospects appear promising. We believe that the company’s prudent investment as well as strategic initiatives toward product innovation and brand building will increase its customer base and profitability. Going forward, we expect the company’s top-line growth to remain strong, given the rise in future orders.

Other stocks that touched a new 52-week high on Sep 27 are EnerSys (ENS - Snapshot Report) and Envestnet, Inc. (ENV - Snapshot Report), which reached $61.17 and $31.86, respectively.

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