Few things seem to slow Nike (NYSE:NKE). The Beaverton, Oregon-based athletic apparel and equipment maker has maintained an impressive growth rate despite considerable market headwinds. Though NKE stock has fallen somewhat during the downturn, it has so far avoided a bear market.
Yes, Nike stock has fallen about 16% from its 52-week high in September and while the current downturn will create a buying opportunity, investors need to consider how the overall market affects NKE stock before opening a position.
Nike’s Growth Remains Strong
Despite the recent market downturn, Nike remains a resilient brand, so much so that it has become the most valuable brand in the athletic apparel business. Lucrative endorsement deals from the likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James have helped to make Nike products some of the most sought-after athletic apparel in the world.
Furthermore, if the last earnings report serves as an indication, demand in all corners of the world remains strong. The Colin Kaepernick kneeling controversy, a bear market, and a trade war have done little to slow Nike down. All of Nike’s regions across the world saw double-digit revenue increases in the last quarter. Moreover, digital channel sales grew by 70% over the previous two years. Also, as a result of branding successes, it plans several flagship store openings in many of the world’s major markets.
Don’t Expect a Low Multiple on NKE Stock
This likely helps to explain why NKE stock has maintained an elevated valuation for the last several years. With the current Nike stock price at around $73 per share, it trades at a forward price-to-earnings (PE) ratio of 28.5. And while Under Armour (NYSE:UAA, NYSE:UA) trades at a much higher multiple and Adidas (OTCMKTS:ADDYY) at a seemingly discounted forward PE in the low 20s, Nike has also outcompeted them on nearly every front. Such troubles do not make a company worthwhile merely because they support a lower multiple.
Also, investors buying NKE stock now are getting a relative discount. The current multiple for NKE comes in below the stock’s five-year average PE of 32.8. However, despite this “sale price,” I would urge caution. The overall market continues to struggle. That swoon depressed Nike’s stock price, and it could push the equity further down.
This does not mean that NKE stock will become inexpensive. The latest earnings report showed the strength of the Nike brand continues to endure. Investors should also note that during the depths of the financial crisis, the average PE always stayed above 20.
Still, it could fall further without testing these historic lows. The lowest average PE ratio over the last five years came in at 22.9. At today’s profit levels, that would take the stock to just over $60 per share, its price in late 2017. Time will tell how far NKE falls, but until the overall market begins to improve, I would recommend holding out for a lower price on Nike stock.
Bottom Line on NKE Stock
Nike stock remains a long-term winner, but I would not expect it to rise until the overall market turns around. The economic headwinds over the last year have done little to affect the performance of Nike as a company.
Since NKE stock has fallen along with the overall market, I don’t expect the shares to turn around without improvements in the S&P 500 index. Current owners can still take solace in the resilience of Nike stock. Even if the equity continues to slip, it won’t be fast or dramatic. Moreover, when it does recover, the shares will likely lead the way in resuming the gains its investors have long enjoyed.
As of this writing, Will Healy did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. You can follow Will on Twitter at @HealyWriting.