By Mitchell Clark, B.Comm.
One company that continues to distinguish itself with its excellent long-term performance, both operationally and on the stock market, is NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE). It's a good company that's worthy of consideration by long-term investors.
The position is trading right at its all-time high and it recovered from its latest price retrenchment to around the $70.00-per-share level. It's an early reporting issuer, and the company just reported its fiscal third-quarter financial results of 2014.
Last quarter, NIKE's numbers were excellent. Second-quarter revenues advanced eight percent comparatively to $6.4 billion. The company owns the "Converse" brand, and its second-quarter sales grew 11% to $360 million. Net income was $537 million, up four percent on an earnings-per-share (EPS) basis. The company bought back 5.5 million of its own common shares in the second quarter for $402 million.
In its last earnings report, management said that global future orders of NIKE-branded footwear and apparel for delivery between December 2013 and April 2014 were running 12% higher than last year's.
It looks like this forecast came to fruition because the company's latest numbers hit the mark. NIKE's 10-year stock chart is featured below:
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
The company's share price moved higher again after announcing fiscal third-quarter sales from continuing operations of $7.9 billion, up a solid 13% over the same quarter of the previous year.
Revenues from NIKE-branded products grew 14% to $6.6 billion, and Converse sales grew 16% to $420 million. Notably, the company's gross margin expanded 30 points to 44.5% due to higher average selling prices, offset by adverse foreign exchange translation. Bottom-line earnings grew 3% to $685 million, with diluted earnings per share growing four percent to $0.76.
NIKE bought back 10.4 million of its own common shares during the most recent quarter as part of a four-year $8.0-billion repurchase program. The company finished its fiscal third quarter with $5.0 billion in cash, up $987 million from the comparable quarter.
Management noted that advance orders for March through to July are running 14% higher (compared to the same quarter of the previous year) on a currency-neutral basis, with the World Cup in Brazil this summer providing a boost to merchandise orders. NIKE once again beat the Street, proving just how good a business this mature brand really is.
This is a stock worth considering when it's down. (See "Two Steps to a Solid and Profitable Portfolio.") According to its historical track record, it isn't down for long. The company increased its dividend at the end of calendar year 2013 to $0.24 a share from the previous quarterly level of $0.21. With its strong cash position, another dividend increase is likely this calendar year. The position's current dividend yield is approximately 1.2%.
I continue to like this enterprise and its ability to deliver double-digit top-line growth is impressive. No doubt, earnings estimates will be going up for future periods. NIKE has proven to be a great long-term holding.
Disclosure: No positions