Nike earnings: $1.34 per share, vs expected EPS of $1.19

Why Under Armour is the better bet than Nike: Analyst

Nike announced earnings and revenue that topped analyst expectations on Thursday.

The company said its fiscal 2016 first quarter earnings came in at $1.34 per share on $8.41 billion in revenue. Analysts expected Nike to post earnings of $1.19 per share on $8.22 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

After the announcement, the company's shares jumped more than 8 percent in after-hours trading. (Click here to track the stock.)

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Shopper carrying a Nike shopping bag in New York.
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"Fiscal 2016 is off to a great start," Mark Parker, Nike's president and CEO said in the company's earnings release. "Our relentless pace of growth is driven by our proven strategy of putting the consumer first, obsessing innovation in everything we do and leveraging our powerful portfolio. We're well-positioned to continue to deliver long-term growth that is both sustainable and profitable."

Nike's revenue numbers represented a 5 percent increase over the comparable year-ago period. On a currency-neutral basis, revenues were up 14 percent, the company said.

The sports apparel company also reported strong futures orders numbers, including 22 percent growth in Greater China—or 27 percent excluding currency changes. In constant dollar terms, analysts had expected 15.8% futures orders growth, according to Consensus Metrix.

For emerging markets, Nike reported constant currency futures orders growth of 6 percent—Consensus Metrix said analysts were expecting 2.1 percent. Total futures came in at 17 percent growth, topping expectations of 10.3 percent.

"Really not much to poke a hole at here," Cannacord Genuity Analyst Camilo Lyon told CNBC. "Good growth numbers on the top line—5 percent and we were looking for 3.5 percent. But most importantly the futures came in at a very strong 17 percent growth—we were looking for about 11 percent growth...So this on the surface of it all looks like a very strong quarter."

Lyon has a "hold" rating on the stock and a price target of $109, according to FactSet. "We choose to favor the higher growth company in this space—Under Armour over Nike. It's purely a choice of one performing, you know, longer term visibility in the growth story, we're going to choose the David over the Goliath," he explained.

Nike shares have easily outperformed the rest of the Dow Jones industrial average this year. The sports apparel maker's stock has surged more than 19 percent, versus a nearly 10 percent loss for the Dow.

In the last year, Nike's gains of 40 percent make it the top performer in the blue chip index. The Dow has fallen by nearly 7 percent in that span.

"The consumer is spending three times as much on athleisure wear versus regular apparel. So you have that in your favor. In addition you've got this company that has plowed so much in R&D over the years," trader Stephanie Link said after the earnings announcement. "They've got the technology, they've got what people want. They've got it. Just like Starbucks has it. Just like Chipotle has it. If you have it, consumers will go and pay for it."

Nike has pushed the development of new technology, hiring Jim Scholefield as chief information officer this summer. He previously served in a similar position at Coca-Cola.