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Following the better-than-expected bottom-line results for third quarter fiscal 2013, the shares of global sport equipment and apparel retailer, Nike Inc. (NKE - Analyst Report), soared to a new 52-week high of $60.25 on Friday, Mar 22. This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company closed trade at $59.53 on Mar 22, representing a solid return of 11.1% from the closing price of $53.90 on Mar 21, and gained about 15.3% year-to-date. Average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months stands at approximately 3,862,840.

Stocks’ Growth Drivers

An impressive record of beating the quarterly earnings expectations, sustained focus on brand building as well as initiatives to expand operation in the emerging markets are the major attributes that pushed the shares of Nike to a new high.

With respect to earnings surprise, Nike has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate thrice in the trailing four quarters with an average surprise of 4.9%. The company witnessed an earnings surprise of 9.0% in the most recently reported third quarter of fiscal 2013.

On Mar 21, Nike came up with its third-quarter fiscal 2013 earnings of 73 cents per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 67 cents. Moreover, the quarterly earnings climbed 19.7% year over year, resulting from increased revenues, improved margins, lower share count and reduced tax rate.

Nike's total revenue grew 9% year over year to $6,187 million primarily driven by robust performances across all geographical regions barring Greater China and Japan. Moreover, the company registered growth in all key categories excluding Sportswear and Action Sports.

Further, we believe Nike’s continued focus on expanding global footprint and augmenting market share via acquiring new brands bodes well for future growth. Simultaneously, the company has moved out of its underperforming brands such as Umbro and Cole Haan. We believe that this strategy will help Nike in focusing more on its faster growing brands while reducing costs.

Apart from Nike, other companies, which have hit 52-week high recently include, The Travelers Companies, Inc. (TRV - Analyst Report), Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP - Analyst Report) and Target Corporation (TGT - Analyst Report).

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