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3 Fitness Stocks Ready to Rally in the New Year

Fitness Stocks

One of the most common New Year's resolutions is to lose weight. That makes this a good time to consider fitness stocks as additions to your portfolio in 2024. Of course, that also means you'll be looking at retail stocks, which have been under pressure as consumers become more discerning about discretionary purchases.  

But investing is frequently about skating where the puck is moving. And there's evidence to suggest that things may be looking up. A recent Gallup survey shows that Americans will spend more on gifts in 2023 than any holiday season since 1999.  

The second is that earnings for consumer discretionary stocks may have bottomed out in the third quarter. Analysts expect the sector to post earnings growth between 10% and 15%. This means that any investment you make in the sector may not be a fad.  

If you're looking to capitalize on this trend, here are three fitness stocks to consider as you make your portfolio decisions for 2024.  

It May be Time to Just Buy It  

Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) has been a laggard in 2023. Even with a 27% rally in NKE stock over the last three months, shares of the iconic footwear maker are only up 4.3% for the year. The company's numbers haven't been awful, and margins are improving. However, for much of the year, it wasn't enough to get investors to bite on a stock with a premium valuation at over 32x forward earnings.  

That may be changing. The company has been quietly issuing layoffs in the past month. The cost-cutting move is part of what Nike says is a broad restructuring aimed at breathing life into the company's iconic brands. It can't hurt that the company's China business is showing signs of returning to form.  

Nike reports its second quarter 2024 earnings on December 21, and the consensus forecast is that the company will deliver earnings per share (EPS) of 83 cents on revenue of approximately $13.32 billion. The Nike analyst ratings on MarketBeat show the company receiving several upgrades in advance of the earnings report. One of those upgrades is from The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), which recently made Nike one of its top apparel stocks to buy in 2024.  

You'll Pay a Premium for LULU Stock, but It's Worth It 

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) has been one of the shining stars among retail stocks for many years. For all intents and purposes, Lululemon created the athleisure category and has staked itself to a giant lead over the competition. The company has extensive lines of apparel for women and men.  

And, at a time when the omnichannel is the buzz in the retail industry, Lululemon continues to open brick-and-mortar stores. In its most recent quarter, the company opened 14 stores, raising its total store count to 686. The company also attracts customers with its e-commerce presence.  

Still, if investors are going to pay 39x forward earnings to own a stock, they have high expectations. In the last four quarters, Lululemon continues to beat revenue and earnings year-over-year. The company has also announced a $1 billion share buyback program, adding further value to shareholders.  

Skechers May Pull Back but Still Looks Like a Comfortable Buy 

In contrast to Nike, Skechers U.S.A. Inc. (NYSE: SKX) has outpaced the market in 2023. SKX stock is up 48% in 2023. Both revenue and earnings have been higher on a year-over-year basis.  

The company has capitalized on a market for its slip-ons and laced sneakers that are both comfortable and affordable. And despite rising margins, the company has raised prices without hurting sales. In the last quarter, Skechers achieved a gross margin of 53%.  

Investors may expect SKX stock to pull back from the all-time high it reached in November. But it still looks like an attractive buy for 2024. On December 14, Stifel Nicolaus affirmed its Buy rating on SKX stock and raised its price target by $10 from $62 to $72. If the company delivers strong numbers when it reports earnings in January, you can expect analysts to begin bidding the stock higher.  

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