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Nike Looks Strong Amid Kaepernick, NFL Backlash: Time to Buy NKE Stock?

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Nike (NKE - Free Report) saw its stock price pop in morning trading Friday even as controversy surrounding its new advertising campaign starring Colin Kaepernick remains national news. The question for investors is should they consider buying Nike stock right now as the NFL season begins?

The NFL & Kaepernick

Nike replaced Adidas’ (ADDYY - Free Report) Reebok brand as the NFL’s official jersey sponsor in 2012. The relationship between the sportswear giant and the NFL was working well enough for the two to agree on an extension this past offseason that will see Nike remain the league’s jersey and apparel partner through the 2028 season.

Then, Nike reportedly blindsided the NFL when it launched on Labor Day its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” ad campaign that stars Kaepernick, who is currently suing the NFL for collusion and helped kick off the national anthem protests during the 2016 season.

Still, the NFL likely won’t part ways with the sportswear powerhouse anytime soon, especially since the league was likely glad to see Nike take some of the heat off of its handling of the anthem issue.

Nike Overview

But let’s move onto Nike’s business and some more fundamentals because simply put the sportswear powerhouse is unlikely to be negatively impacted by its Kaepernick ads. The Oregon-based firm saw its fiscal fourth-quarter revenues climb by 13%. More importantly, Nike’s North American sales popped 3% to hit $3.88 billion, after three straight quarters of declines. This helped boost investor confidence and was vital since the region accounts for roughly 40% of total company revenues.

Meanwhile, Nike’s sales in Greater China skyrocketed 35%, with Jordan Brand up nearly 50%. Yet the success of Nike’s direct-to-consumer business was the key takeaway from the quarter and the year. Nike noted on its earnings call that Nike Direct drove over 90% of its growth for the full year, with its digital sales up 41% in Q4.

Nike’s push into e-commerce comes at the expense of companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS - Free Report) and Foot Locker (FL - Free Report) as it invests in its own online and digital infrastructure and works directly with Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) , JD.Com (JD - Free Report) , Facebook (FB - Free Report) , and others.

Plus, shares of Nike have soared 54% from roughly $52 to around $81 per share over the last 52 weeks, which crushes the S&P 500’s 18% climb. Investors should note that Nike stock has also performed very well since it began its NFL partnership.

 

Outlook

Nike’s recent performance, current brand strength, and direct-to-consumer success doesn’t matter to investors unless the company is poised to grow.

Our current Zacks Consensus Estimate is calling for Nike’s current quarter revenues to jump by 8.8% to hit $9.87 billion. Meanwhile, the firm’s fiscal year revenues are projected to climb 7.8% to $39.24 billion.

At the other end of the income statement, Nike’s adjusted quarterly earnings are expected to jump by 7.2%, while its full-year EPS figure is projected to expand by 8.3%. It is also worth noting that Nike’s full-year earnings are expected to surge by 17.8% in fiscal 2020.

Nike is currently a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and sports an “A” grade for Growth in our Style Scores system. With all that said, investors might want to consider Nike stock as some of its fundamentals look strong.

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