Shares of Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) were up 12% as of 1 p.m. EDT Friday after the athletic footwear and sportswear giant announced strong fiscal fourth-quarter 2018 results.
Nike's quarterly revenue climbed 12.8% year over year to $9.789 billion, and translated to 15% growth in adjusted earnings per share to $0.69. By comparison, the company's own financial guidance called for more modest revenue growth in the high-single-digit percent range. And most investors were only expecting earnings of $0.64 per share.
Perhaps most exciting, Nike's strong quarter came on the heels of an earlier-than-expected return to growth in North America, where NIKE brand sales climbed 3% to $3.875 billion. For perspective, last quarter the company told investors that North American revenue would be roughly flat on a year-over-year basis, followed by a return to growth in the first half of fiscal 2019. Including international sales, total NIKE brand revenue climbed 14% -- or 9% at constant currency -- to $9.269 billion.
CEO Mark Parker credited consumers' positive response to its innovative new products.
"Fueled by a complete digital transformation of our company end-to-end," Parker added, "this year set the foundation for Nike's next wave of long-term, sustainable growth and profitability."
If that wasn't enough, Nike also authorized a new four-year, $15 billion share repurchase program, which will commence after Nike uses the $3.3 billion remaining under its original four-year buyback authorized in late 2015.
Finally, the company modestly increased its guidance to call for fiscal 2019 revenue to increase in the high-single-digit range -- a more aggressive goal than its previous outlook for mid-to-high single-digit growth.
In the end, there was nothing not to love about this stellar performance, and it's no surprise to see Nike stock trading at an all-time high.
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