Trading Nation

Dow stock Nike just hit a record — and its run could just be getting started

The top Dow stock of 2018 just hit a record high, and the run could be just beginning
The top Dow stock of 2018 just hit a record high, and the run could be just beginning

Nike shares just sprinted to an all-time high, and some market watchers foresee even bigger gains.

The athletic apparel company is the best-performing stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this year, up 36 percent and far outpacing peers like Foot Locker and Skechers.

The bulk of its gains have come in just the last three months — 14 percent. The stock quickly recouped losses earlier this month in a move sparked by an advertisement featuring former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the NFL "take a knee protest" against racial inequality in America.

"We're not crazy about the valuation, but this is an iconic brand. They're resilient, and when you have an iconic brand, it can command a premium valuation," Mark Tepper, president and CEO of Strategic Wealth Partners, said Thursday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

A survey earlier this week by Wall Street firm Canaccord Genuity said the majority of consumers supported the Kaepernick advertisement, a sentiment that would likely translate into a "bump" in sales in the company's quarterly earnings report next week.

The stock has room to run from a technical perspective, said Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Jaffray — but he wouldn't put fresh money into Nike shares, given where the stock is trading relative to its 200-day moving average.

"This is a stock we've owned for a while. We bought this stock when it was breaking out of that big base, there was a lot of controversy. From my perspective, I see about 6 to 12 percent upside to about the $90, $95 level," Johnson said.

Nike shares closed 1.1 percent higher on Thursday, at $85.37 per share.