By Ryan Fuhrmann, CFA
It seems that Nike(NYSE: NKE) likes to play as hard as the athletes who wear its sporting gear. The company has had an extremely busy year, and it’s only June.
First, former CEO William Perez abruptly left the company only after one year on the job. Then, archrivals Adidas and Reebok completed their merger, creating a more formidable footwear No. 2 to try to knock Nike off its lofty perch. More recently, Nike has had to do battle with Adidas on its home turf, since Germany is hosting the World Cup soccer tournament. Everybody knows that Adidas has held the coveted top seed in soccer for decades, though Nike is doing its darndest to steal market share. So what’s a company to do?
Announcing unremitting confidence in your own business is an applaudable step. So is putting your money where your mouth is. On Monday, Nike stated that its board of directors approved a $3 billion stock repurchase program that is set to take place over the next four years. That’s double the last four-year buyback plan, which management stated would be completed in the next few weeks; it only took two years to finish. Chairman and company founder Philip Knight declared that the early completion of the current buyback speaks to management’s confidence in Nike’s long-term growth prospects, and the new authorization implies confidence in its cash flow generation abilities.
The pace for growth at Nike shows no sign of letting up. Next week, the company is set to release fourth-quarter and year-end results. While World Cup results won’t likely be finalized, investors hope that the company offers some insight into its fight with Adidas in the soccer space, and announces more of the strong results to which shareholders have grown accustomed. Consensus analyst estimates peg full-year results at $5.39 per share.
I’ll have more details after next week’s earnings, but Nike is currently one of my favorite stocks, and Fools should definitely consider familiarizing themselves with the company. Nike has a leading brand, and its strong historical performance should continue for the foreseeable future, thanks to strong international growth avenues. In the meantime, you can see what’s shaking from the footwear retail front, since Finish Line(Nasdaq: FINL) will report quarterly results tomorrow. Check out our Foolish Forecast for insight on what to look for.
Reebok is a Stock AdvisorÂ recommendation.
Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann is long shares of Nike but has no financial interest in any other company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.