Athletic Gear Oversupply Worries Fuel Downgrades Of Under Armour, Nike

Shares of Under Armour (UAA) and Nike (NKE) are slipping after the two athletic gear makers saw their ratings lowered amid concerns about their sector. Wells Fargo analyst Tom Nikic downgraded Under Armour to Underperform as he believes the athletic wear/footwear space "appears poised to take a breather for now," while his peer at Susquehanna cut Nike to Neutral on basketball product oversupply concerns.

SELL UNDER ARMOUR: In a research note to investors, Wells Fargo's Nikic downgraded Under Armour to Underperform from Market Perform and lowered his price target on the shares to $13 from $17. The analyst noted that while the athletic apparel/footwear space was one of the strongest sub-sectors in his group coming out of the recession, he now sees several areas for concern that are not only likely weighing on the industry, but also have the potential to accelerate. With consumers having filled their closets with athletic wear over the past seven years, the category "appears poised to take a breather for now," Nikic argued. Furthermore, the analyst pointed out that athletic trends have worsened, with sneaker retailers now underperforming non-athletic shoe stores for the first since the fourth quarter of 2011. Nikic believes the trend change away from performance has left Under Armour "offsides" from a fashion perspective and, unlike Nike, Under Armour still generates most of its revenue in North America, where the athletic space is seeing much more pressure. Additionally, Under Armour's stock valuation "still appears quite lofty," he contended. The analyst also lowered his estimates for Nike, Under Armour, Lululemon (LULU) and Finish Line (FINL).

NIKE TO THE SIDELINES: Meanwhile, Susquehanna analyst Sam Poser downgraded Nike to Neutral from Positive, stating that his checks indicate that the North American and European businesses are decelerating as some key categories, especially basketball, have underperformed, resulting in excess inventory that will pressure sales and margins. Nike appears to have misjudged the appetite for some key marquee basketball product, which has resulted in supply outpacing demand, he added. Poser told investors that he also believes Nike will provide a new five-year growth plan and push out its $50B revenue target beyond 2020. The analyst lowered his price target on the shares to $54 from $64, and pointed out that the problems facing Nike for the foreseeable future are evident by the guidance reductions from Foot Locker (FL), Dicks Sporting (DKS), Hibbett Sports (HIBB), and Finish Line. Jefferies analyst Randal Konik was also bearish on Nike this morning, lowering his price target on the shares to $49 from $60. According to his survey work, Nike is ceding market share to Adidas (ADDYY) in both Europe and the U.S. at an accelerating pace, especially in running. The analyst's webscrape analysis shows Nike has 35 shoes in the top 60 sellers, versus 52 last year, while Adidas has risen to 24 styles, versus just two last year. Further, Konik pointed out that Nike promotions are up year over year and are higher than Adidas, adding that the former's share in basketball seems to have peaked. He reiterated a Hold rating on Nike's shares, and argued that the company's eroding market share is negative for both Foot Locker and Finish Line.

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