NEW YORK (AP) -- Athletic gear maker Nike Inc.'s strong product pipeline and e-commerce expansion make it a good buy, a JPMorgan analyst said Monday as he upgraded the stock.
Like most global companies, Nike Inc. has been dealing with Europe's weak economy and a slowdown in growth in China. But it has scaled back inventory in that region. In December, the Beaverton, Ore.-based company said its net income fell, but it still surpassed analysts' average expectations.
Revenue in North America has been a strong point, up 17 percent in its most recent quarter, which ended Nov. 30.
JPMorgan analyst Matthew Ross said in a note on Monday that Nike has a lot going for it, including a robust product pipeline and expansion of its direct-to-consumer and e-commerce businesses.
He expects single-digit revenue growth for the next three years, as China improves, and the company launches new products, such as the Valentine's Day launch of its Flyknit shoes, which are loosely woven running shoes, with a Lunar foam sole.
In addition, the company has a lot of room to grow online, with only 2 to 3 percent of revenue coming from online sales currently.
Ross upgraded the stock to "Overweight" from "Neutral" and raised his 52-week price target to $64 from $50.
Nike shares rose 25 cents to $54.84 in afternoon trading. They are trading near the upper end of their 52-week range of $42.55 to $57.40.
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