Nike, Under Armour Stocks Get Upgrades

Put buying has actually picked up on Nike

Jan 22, 2019 at 10:19 AM
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Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) shares notched their highest close since October on Friday, and they're on the rise again today. Cowen and Company upgraded its opinion on the blue chip to "outperform" from "market perform" and boosted its price target to $90 from $80. In the note, analysts said they expect gross margins to improve for the company, helped in part by higher selling prices.

NKE stock was last seen up 0.3% at $80.67, so Cowen's $90 target is pricing in an 11.6% premium to current levels. The equity touched an all-time high of $86 back in September and sank to a December low of $66.53, Since then, it's gained over 21%.

Options traders have been picking up long puts at an equal rate of long calls in recent weeks, though -- something that's quite rare among Nike speculators. More specifically, the security's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.00 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) ranks in the 75th annual percentile.

Sector peer Under Armour Inc (NYSE:UAA) is up 0.5% at $20.60, getting a boost from an upgrade to "buy" from Goldman Sachs, which added the stock to its "conviction buy" list, saying the company should benefit from its growth in international markets and its direct-to-consumer business.

UAA shares are on pace for their highest close since early December and their second straight above the 200-day moving average, and in fact are testing the site of a bear gap from December near the $21 mark. While it's been a volatile few months for the equity, it remains well off its low of $12.50 from last February.

Most analysts remain skeptical of the security, however. Of the 24 brokerage firms in coverage, just five recommend buying it, and the average price target of $21.04 offers almost no upside.



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