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Hurricanes To Boost Hibbett Sports (HIBB) Stock?

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Hibbett Sports (HIBB - Free Report) stock climbed Wednesday morning after the sports retailer received a significant analyst upgrade, which cited the recent wave of hurricanes as a possible catalyst for boosting the company’s sales.

Susquehanna Financial Group analysts upgraded Hibbett stock to “positive” from “neutral” in a note to clients Wednesday. The firm also raised its price target for the struggling sports retailer to $17 per share from $11. Shares of Hibbett closed Tuesday at $13.85.

The biggest reason for Susquehanna’s Hibbett upgrade rests on the idea that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will end up having a net positive effect on the company’s sales. Specifically, the firm pointed to Hibbett’s e-commerce sales receiving a big boost as people hit by the storms begin to rebuild and repurchase.

“Prior to the storms, the timing of the benefits from Hibbett's new digital presence was unclear," analyst Sam Poser and his team wrote in the note. "Now we believe the hurricane-induced demand will act as a bridge to the sustainable improvements supported by Hibbett's beefed up digital presence. Hibbett has over 32% exposure to hurricane-ravaged regions, which will see significant increases in replacement footwear sales."

The upgrade could help the stock turn things around in the near-term, while a viable and successful e-commerce business could help Hibbett in the long run. But really, any boost might prove useful—even if devastating hurricanes spur online sales—as Hibbett did not officially launch its first-ever e-commerce website until late July.

Shares of Hibbett surged 5% to hit $13.80 per share on Wednesday morning. Still, the sports retailer’s stock has a long way to climb to get back to its 52-week high of over $40 a share, which it reached last September.

Hibbett is currently a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) but did score an “A” grade for Value and a “B” for Momentum in our Style Scores system.

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