Shares of the world's largest athletic apparel company will continue to stage a comeback as Nike Inc. (NKE) doubles down on connecting with its consumers in a "provocative way," according to one team of bulls on the Street.
Nike's recent ad featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick is a subtle sign that Nike is "solidly marching back to the top of form," wrote Canaccord Genuity analyst Camilo Lyon in a note to clients on Tuesday.
(See also: Why Nike's Hot Stock May Fall By 10%.)
Controversial Ad Speaks to Core Consumers in 'Nike-Esque Provocative Way'
While the Beaverton, Oregon-based company has struggled on a variety of negative headwinds including broader weakness in traditional retail, and two years of "a soft product cycle that led to increasing inventory levels, higher discounting, margin compression and market share declines," signs of a turnaround are materializing, according to Lyon.
Notably, Nike's recent ad campaign, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" slogan and highlights several athletes including Kaepernick, demonstrates renewed brand strength and confidence in its position in the marketplace, wrote Canaccord Genuity. The former football quarterback made headlines by kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
Lyon pointed out that the recent campaign, wherein Nike differentiated itself against rivals and took a risk by standing "in support of a social issue," will likely do more good than harm and will strengthen ties with Nike's sponsor athletes. The ad "spoke to Nike's core consumers in a very Nike-esque provocative way," he added.
There are already signs that Nike's Kaepernick bet has paid off, noted Business Insider, citing data from no-fee trading app Robinhood, which suggests that 15,191 investors added Nike to their portfolios last week through Thursday, marking a 45% jump from the week prior. The brokerage platform is popular among Millennial investors.
Canaccord lifted its 12-month price target on shares of the global athleisure giant from $78 to $95, reflecting a 15% upside from current levels. Trading roughly flat on Wednesday morning at $82.58, Nike reflects a 32% return year-to-date (YTD), outpacing the broader S&P 500's 8% increase over the same period.
(See also: Retail Stocks Set to Soar on Millennial Love.)