What happened

Shares of Under Armour (NYSE:UAA) rose 23.2% in October, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The footwear and apparel company's stock posted strong gains thanks to indications of momentum for the retail industry and favorable coverage from analysts.

^SPX Chart

^SPX data by YCharts

The company also posted better-than-expected third-quarter results on Oct. 30, but the earnings beat didn't correspond with big gains for its share price. Under Armour's gains last month followed a 14% increase for the company's share price in September, which may have been partially driven by strong earnings results for fellow apparel industry players including Nike and lululemon athletica

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So what

Data suggesting improving performance in the retail sector emerged in October, and official tracking arrived in the middle of the month showing that retail sales (excluding the auto industry) climbed 1.5% month over month in September. Clothing and accessories led the gains in the sector.

Sentiment on Under Armour stock has significantly improved among some large investment firms and analysts in recent months. Piper Sandler analyst Erinn Murphy published a note on the stock on Oct. 21, raising the firm's one-year price target on the company's shares from $10 to $14. Deutsche Bank's Paul Trussell published analysis on Under Armour two days later that maintained a hold rating on the stock, but increased his price target on the stock from $12 to $13 per share. Later in the month, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik raised his price target on the stock from $13 to $20 per share and J.P. Morgan analyst Matthew Boss raised his target from $12 to $17 per share.

Under Armour then published third-quarter results on Oct. 30, posting earnings per share of $0.09 (or $0.26 after adjusting for restructuring charges) on revenue of $1.4 billion. The average analyst estimate had called for earnings of $0.05 per share on sales of $1.13 billion. The company also announced it would sell its MyFitnessPal workout platform to Francisco Partners in a $345 million deal. Under Armour acquired MyFitnessPal for $475 million in 2015. 

Now what

Under Armour stock has continued to rally early in November's trading. Shares are up roughly 6.6% in the month so far. 

UAA Chart

UAA data by YCharts

Following signs of improving performance, Under Armour's management now expects a sales decline in the low teens in the fourth quarter -- significantly better than the sales erosion between 20% and 25% it had previously guided for. Full-year revenue is expected to dip a high-teens percentage, but that's still better than many analysts had anticipated, and the company expects to post "slightly positive" earnings growth next year. 

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