Has Under Armour Become the Perfect Stock?

Every investor would love to stumble upon the perfect stock. But will you ever really find a stock that provides everything you could possibly want?

One thing's for sure: You'll never discover truly great investments unless you actively look for them. Let's discuss the ideal qualities of a perfect stock, then decide if Under Armour (NYSE: UA  ) fits the bill.

The quest for perfection
Stocks that look great based on one factor may prove horrible elsewhere, making due diligence a crucial part of your investing research. The best stocks excel in many different areas, including these important factors:

  • Growth. Expanding businesses show healthy revenue growth. While past growth is no guarantee that revenue will keep rising, it's certainly a better sign than a stagnant top line.
  • Margins. Higher sales mean nothing if a company can't produce profits from them. Strong margins ensure that company can turn revenue into profit.
  • Balance sheet. At debt-laden companies, banks and bondholders compete with shareholders for management's attention. Companies with strong balance sheets don't have to worry about the distraction of debt.
  • Money-making opportunities. Return on equity helps measure how well a company is finding opportunities to turn its resources into profitable business endeavors.
  • Valuation. You can't afford to pay too much for even the best companies. By using normalized figures, you can see how a stock's simple earnings multiple fits into a longer-term context.
  • Dividends. For tangible proof of profits, a check to shareholders every three months can't be beat. Companies with solid dividends and strong commitments to increasing payouts treat shareholders well.

With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at Under Armour.

Factor

What We Want to See

Actual

Pass or Fail?

Growth

5-Year Annual Revenue Growth >  15%

26.1%

Pass

 

1-Year Revenue Growth > 12%

31.5%

Pass

Margins

Gross Margin > 35%

47.9%

Pass

 

Net Margin > 15%

6.2%

Fail

Balance Sheet

Debt to Equity less than 50%

10.7%

Pass

 

Current Ratio > 1.3

3.09

Pass

Opportunities

Return on Equity > 15%

16.3%

Pass

Valuation

Normalized P/E less than 20

59.44

Fail

Dividends

Current Yield > 2%

0%

Fail

 

5-Year Dividend Growth > 10%

0%

Fail

       
 

Total Score

 

6 out of 10

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Total score = number of passes.

Since we looked at Under Armour last year, the company has held onto the point it gained between 2010 and 2011. The stock has done even better, rising nearly 40% over the past year.

Under Armour is a huge long-term success story, starting out as a niche player in the sporting apparel industry, and gradually expanding to become one of its best-known new brands. Despite an admittedly high valuation, the company has grown quickly enough to put concerns about price to rest, at least for now.

One handicap that Under Armour has against competitors Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) and lululemon athletica (Nasdaq: LULU  ) is that, unlike those two companies, Under Armour has a very limited number of retail locations, many of them factory outlets. A deal with Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS  ) , however, gave Under Armour the chance to put mini-stores inside Dick's locations, at least giving it an ability to highlight its own goods prominently.

Under Armour is doing a number of innovative things to try to stand out from the crowd. It recently put an accelerometer in its signature stretch shirts that can track each side of the body separately, giving useful health and fitness data. Meanwhile, the company is reaching out to women with its UA Studio brand, hoping to build a positive customer experience for the entire family. Footwear revenue is also continuing to grow, and attacks Nike's traditional area of strength.

In its quarterly report earlier today, Under Armour posted net income growth of 25% on a 24% jump in revenue. Margins improved, and the company pushed its full-year sales guidance to the top end of its previous range. Still, the company faces a potential challenge from Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) . The online retailer is targeting sporting goods, which could hurt Dick's and other retailers that sell Under Armour products.

For Under Armour to improve, it needs to get its earnings growth to match up with its stock price. Once that happens, Under Armour could start moving even closer to perfection.

Keep searching
No stock is a sure thing, but some stocks are a lot closer to perfect than others. By looking for the perfect stock, you'll go a long way toward improving your investing prowess and learning how to separate out the best investments from the rest.

Under Armour has been a growth darling for a long time, but everyone knows Amazon is the big bad wolf in the retail world. But at Amazon's sky-high valuation, most investors aren't sure whether Amazon's stock is a buy or a sell right now. We'll tell you what's driving Amazon's growth, and how to know when to buy and sell this company today in our new premium report. Our report also has you covered with a full year of free analyst updates to keep you informed as their story changes, so click here now to read more.

Click here to add Under Armour to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.


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  • Report this Comment On October 26, 2012, at 9:04 AM, earsworld wrote:

    I like Nike! Underarmour is cool though too! Have a great day Dan :)......

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