Nike has more room to run: Analysts

Nike beats Street, stock upgraded: Analyst

Nike shares soared 9 percent on Friday, after the company posted its ninth-consecutive earnings beat a day earlier. The athletic firm's stock is now up a whopping 57 percent over the past year, and analysts said shares have more upside.

But to get there, Nike will need to keep pushing, as comparisons will only get tougher.

"It's all about their brand," Sterne Agee CRT analyst Sam Poser told CNBC. "What they do better than anybody else is control their brand and build their brand."

Following Nike's first-quarter earnings report, in which the company said earnings per share came in at $1.34 (beating consensus estimates of $1.19), Poser upgraded Nike shares to "buy" and established a $150 price target.

The stock was near $125 in late morning trade.

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Analysts pointed to Nike's solid future orders growth; strength in China, despite the country's economic woes; and ongoing momentum in the athletic wear space as catalysts.

Still, BB&T analyst Corinna Freedman, who has a "hold" rating on the company, cautioned that struggles in Brazil, a deceleration in the highly competitive North America market and excess inventories from the port delays (which may lead to markdowns) could weigh on results.

"In our view, competition [in] the company's most mature market [North America] may be starting to take its toll on gross margins," Freedman told investors.

Nike store in the East Nanjing Road shopping area of Shanghai.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand played down Nike's competition, saying the popularity of workout gear has "really been a story of a rising tide floating all boats."

"I've been hearing this since about 2003 or [2004] that this is a competitive game," he told CNBC. "Don't forget Under Armour is not even a 10th the size of Nike."

Still, Swinand acknowledged that it would be tough for Nike to keep up such positive momentum for the next nine quarters. That's especially true as footwear and apparel cycles typically last three to four years; the athleisure trend, by contrast, has already lasted five or six years, he said.

"They're just going to be lapping so many good quarters that it can't go on forever," Swinand said.