Analysts Still Behind the 8-Ball as Nike Scores New High

Zotefoams stock soars in London on a new NKE partnership

Managing Editor
Dec 13, 2017 at 10:05 AM
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Athletic apparel stock Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) is moving higher this morning, after Susquehanna upped its price target to $57 from $50. The brokerage firm also backed its lukewarm "neutral" rating on NKE shares, which is the majority opinion among analysts following the blue chip. Currently, the sports giant carries 15 "holds," compared to 11 "buy" or better ratings and just one "sell."

Separately, U.K.-based Zotefoams (LON:ZTF) said it's partnering with Nike to develop "high-performance foam materials" for use in Nike's footwear. As a result, Zotefoams stock is up more than 14% in London trading this afternoon.

Back in the U.S., NKE is up 0.8% at $62.69, with the shares now in their fourth week of trading comfortably above Susquehanna's newly revised target. The Dow component recently rallied past the $60 region -- which marked highs in both August 2016 and August 2017 -- and earlier touched a new 52-week peak of $62.76. In fact, NKE has racked up a quarter-to-date gain of more than 21% so far, compared to a roughly 10% rise for the broader Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).

Options traders have been leaning toward the bears' camp on Nike stock. Data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows NKE with a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.10, which ranks in the 75th percentile of its annual range. This suggests puts have been bought to open over calls at a faster-than-usual clip during the past two weeks.

What's more, NKE sports a Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.24, which is higher than 82% of all other readings from the past year. This indicates that short-term options traders have rarely been more put-heavy on Nike stock in the last 12 months.

While it's possible that some of these put buyers are actually NKE shareholders looking to protect some paper gains, there's evidence of bearish sentiment elsewhere on Wall Street. Short interest on the apparel stock rose nearly 29% in the past two reporting periods, and now represents 4.5 times the equity's average daily trading volume.

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