Why Nike Inc. Stock Dropped Today

By Steve Symington Markets Fool.com

What happened

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Shares of Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) were down 6.1% as of noon EDT Wednesday after the athletic footwear and apparel company released mixed quarterly results and light revenue guidance.

So what

For Nike's fiscal third quarter, which ended Feb. 28, 2017, revenue grew 5% year over year, to $8.432 billion. That translated to 19.1% growth in net income, to $1.141 billion, and a 23.6% increase in earnings per diluted share, to $0.68.By comparison -- and though we don't usually pay close attention to Wall Street's forecasts -- analysts' consensus estimates called for slightly higher revenue of $8.47 billion, and significantly lower earnings of $0.53 per share.

Nike's PG1 player-exclusive shoe, for NBA player Paul George. Image source: Nike Inc.

During the earnings conference call, Nike CEO Mark Parker explained that store traffic is being impacted by changing consumer patterns -- including an ongoing shift to digital sources -- in North America, "driving a more promotional environment in the near term."

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Parker added, "While we are mindful of these near-term dynamics, we remain focused on the long term. The current backdrop represents a tremendous opportunity for Nike, because the brands that win are going to be the ones that have been out front with digital and leading with service."

Now what

In the meantime, however, Nike anticipates revenue in the current fiscal fourth quarter to climb in the mid-single-digit percentage range, slightly below the 5% Nike achieved this past quarter. Analysts, on average, were modeling a more substantial 7.4% year-over-year revenue increase.

All things considered, this was a solid showing for Nike as it continued to drive outsize earnings growth despite today's highly promotional retail environment. But it can't keep that up forever as revenue growth decelerates. With shares having climbed more than 15% year to date leading up to this report, and given Nike's disappointing guidance relative to expectations as it navigates these challenges, it's hard to blame the market for taking a step back today.

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Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Nike. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.