Nike's Stock Gets a Lift After Piper Boosts Rating, Price Target

Nike Inc. shares rose 0.4% in afternoon trade Wednesday, after Piper Jaffray upgraded the athletic apparel seller, citing expectations that the company will continue to gain share of a market that should keep growing over the long term. Analyst Erinn Murphy raised her rating to overweight, after being at neutral for at least two years. She also bumped up her stock price target to $115, which is 15% above current levels, and 13% above the March 20 all-time closing high of $101.98, from $101. Murphy believes that "the casualization of fashion is here to stay," and as Nike rival Under Armour Inc. pushes harder, Nike will have to innovate back. And according to Piper's 29th semi-annual survey of teens, Nike remains the dominant clothing brand, and gained market share as the No. 1 choice among both males and females across income segments. The stock, a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average , has rallied 4% year to date, to best the Dow's 1.8% rise.

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