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Foot Locker Builds Up Another Head of Steam; Gains Imminent

Foot Locker Gains Imminent

Sometimes, you just can't keep a good stock down. Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE: FL), whose investors often feel like they're on a non-stop rollercoaster, is once again starting to rally. It had been having a solid couple of months up until the start of March, gaining 140% since last August's multi-year low. 

For context, at the time, Footlocker stock, which had briefly fallen below $16, was back trading at 2010 levels — so it's clearly still in recovery mode. But with a triple-digit gain under its belt, it makes sense that investors could think that 2024 might be the year of some consistent gains, uncheckered by sudden drops. 

Post-Earnings Slide

It was not to be. Just two weeks ago, Foot Locker's Q4 results sent shares down more than 30% in a single session. This was a bitter pill for investors to swallow, as the company managed to deliver a solid beat on analyst expectations for earnings and revenue. And from a macro perspective, equities, in general, continued to set high after high

But weaker-than-anticipated forward guidance from management spooked investors. This was understandable given how hard the company has had to work to convince them a comeback is underway. However, it's starting to look like the post-earnings drop might have been an overreaction, and the 30% gain from the past two weeks is the start of yet another rally. 

Fresh Analyst Upgrade

This was the thinking, at least, by the team over at Evercore ISI, who earlier this week upped their rating on Foot Locker shares from In Line to Outperform. The team ran an analysis, the results of which suggested the negative effects caused by the substantial liquidation inventories on the company's operations throughout last year had been initially underestimated. However, following an aggressive clearance during the final quarter of 2023, Foot Locker is once again striving to meet demand. 

Furthermore, Evercore has also seen its confidence increase in regards to a second-half same-store sales upturn embedded within guidance for the current fiscal year. This, in turn, had them upping their full-year 2024 EPS estimate from $1.70 to $1.75 and full-year 2025 estimate from $2.35 to $2.40. Their new price target of $32 is now targeting around 12% in further gains, with the potential for a lot more if this quarter's numbers can impress. 

As always with Foot Locker, investors should exercise a fair degree of caution as this one tends to whip around considerably more than its peers. But for investors with the appropriate level of risk tolerance, that's probably what makes it interesting. 

Getting Involved 

Beyond Evercore's upgrade, the team at Citi felt momentum shifting to the bulls and upgraded their rating on Foot Locker shares at the end of last week. While they stopped short of moving the stock to a full Buy rating, they were confident enough that most of the downside was already baked into the share price to remove their Sell rating. 

With the stock continuing to gain throughout the week so far, investors should look for more bullish updates in the coming weeks. Technically, the stock needs to close above last month's high of $35 to reconfirm the uptrend is intact, and that will require further gains in the region of 25%. The ongoing disappointment in Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) and Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) won't help, as sentiment towards the athletic retail industry as a whole is weak. But if any stock can cover that kind of ground in a short time, it's Foot Locker. 

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