Ahead of the Bell: Nike

Associated Press |

NEW YORK (AP) — Nike's stock is rising in premarket trading with a huge fourth-quarter coming at a time when the company is getting prolonged and global exposure at the World Cup.

The confluence of rocketing revenue and worldwide exposure is making a believer of Wall Street.

"There is a lot to like about the Nike story," wrote Janney Capital Markets' Eric Tracy.

The company invested heavily in the World Cup and on its expansion in China. Quarterly marketing costs rose 10 percent during the quarter. It appears to be hitting its stride in Brazil, where the World Cup is being held, and at the same time, in China.

Nike is outfitting 10 teams in the tournament, including the U.S. team, which just made it into the round of 16, and more athletes are wearing its shoes at the World Cup than all other brands combined.

And in China, where Nike had struggled to connect, things appear to be turning around. Revenue from shoe sales rose 7 percent in the past quarter.

Late Thursday, Nike reported a profit of $698 million and revenue of $7.43 billion, both of which topped Wall Street expectations.

Soccer revenue grew 21 percent for the year to reach $2.3 billion.

Sam Poser of Sterne, Agee & Leach lifted the company's price target to $90 from $85, noting strong sales not only at home, but in China as well.

Tracy lifted Nike's price target to $80, from $77

Shares of Nike Inc. climbed 3 percent to $79.40 before the opening bell. That is within striking distance of the company's all-time high trading price of $80.26.

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