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NIKE, Inc. (NKE), Under Armour Inc (UA): This Stock Should Help Your Portfolio Run

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NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) is one of the best known brands in the world for designing, developing and marketing of sports utility products with operations in more than 160 countries. With a number of brands such as Converse, Hurley International, etc., Nike is certainly a powerhouse.
NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE)

What makes NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) really interesting is that it holds a number of NIKE AIR patents that cover specific features in various athletic and leisure shoes that will not expire for several years, giving it a wide moat. The company spends a significant share on its Research and Development, Production and Marketing and Design departments to maintain its competitive edge.

President and CEO Mark Parker said,” At Nike, we run a complete offense and it’s based on a core commitment to innovation. That’s how we stay opportunistic, serve the athlete, reward our shareholders and continue to lead our industry.”

Why Nike is fantastic

Consistency and aggressiveness are the key words for Nike’s earnings and revenue. “Fiscal 2013 was a great year for NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE), driven by our innovative products and the power of our brands,” said Parker. The company’s leadership and innovation are its core strengths and help it perform better. For instance, NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE)’s revenue jumped 8% in FY13 to more than $25 billion, which is remarkable when considering that the company took 18 years to make its first $2 billion but its yearly revenue growth now hits that mark.

Moreover, NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) has a strong balance sheet and the company can use leverage to drive its promising growth and innovation. Share repurchases of $1.7 billion shows its commitment toward keeping shareholders interested and returning value to them. The company’s financial performance has indeed been strong. NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE)’s earnings for the fiscal year 2013 increased 11% to $2.69 per share from $2.42 per share in the prior-year period.

The company projects revenue growth for fiscal 2014 to be between 7%-9% and earnings per share for the same period will probably grow in the low double digits, while gross margin is expected to expand by 25 basis points on a year-over-year basis. The impressive increase in global orders is one of the reasons why Nike should perform better going forward.

Doing away with underperforming brands is one the best moves the company is making to expand its bottom line and it will also provide a competitive advantage. Recently, Nike completed the sale of its Umbro and Cole Haan brands due to which its cash and short-term investments increased $2.2 billion from last year.

Competition

Nike sells products for such a wide variety of sports, it competes against many niche companies, but also against similar large athletic footwear and apparel manufacturers like adidas AG (ETR:ADS), Brown Shoe, Puma Vct VII PLC (LON:PUMA) and Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA). Nike is facing tough competition from Under Armour, which is giving it a run for its money in the U.S.

Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) has been gradually growing itself into a strong Nike competitor and the company will be providing the kits to the U.S. women’s and men’s gymnastics teams in the next two Summer Olympics. While this might not sound like much and Nike is the giant in the more lucrative soccer market, Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) has been slowly expanding its presence and sponsors, such as English club Tottenham Hotspur.

Also, a look at Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA)’s recent growth tells us that the company is doing well to improve its standing in the market. The company’s revenue grew an impressive 25% in 2012 to $1.83 billion. However, a notable point was that only 6% of it was contributed by markets outside of North America, according to The Wall Street Journal. In comparison, Nike gets almost three-fifth of its revenue from outside the continent, which means that Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UA) has a huge opportunity to grow its business abroad.

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