JEFFERIES: It's time to buy Under Armour

Under Armour's stock price has been getting crushed, losing 76% of its value in the past year. A year ago, Under Armour was trading at about $85 a share after dropping from an all-time high of $100 in 2014. Now the apparel company's stock is at just $19 a share.

Under Armour has experienced a series of unfortunate events, from losing its CFO, to whiffing on earnings and slashing guidance, to realizing that its products are becoming commoditized, showing up on discount racks in stores like Costco and T.J. Maxx.

But the worst may be over, according to Jefferies analyst Randal J. Konik. The investment bank is upgrading the apparel company to a "buy" from a "hold" and raising its price target to $27 from $19.

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Millennials' favorite retail brands
24. Levi's

23. Calvin Klein

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22. Ralph Lauren

21. Michael Kors

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20. Walmart

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19. Macy's
18. Vans

17. Old Navy

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16. Converse

15. Adidas

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14. Gap

13. Under Armour

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12. Bath & Body Works

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11. Nordstrom

10. Target

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9. Urban Outfitters 
8. J.Crew
7. H&M

6. Sephora

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5. Lululemon

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4. Zara

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3. Forever 21

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2. Victoria's Secret

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1. Nike

The bank has surveyed consumers over the past three years about their habits and views on athletic wear. According to Jefferies, the changes in its survey results over the years represent a positive sentiment that consumers feel toward athletic wear and Under Armour.

In the survey, the bank said, "nearly double the respondents have purchased athletic apparel with the past 12 months" compared with three years prior.

The survey indicates that consumers love Under Armour even more they did three years ago. According to the results of one question, 72% of respondents said they were "extremely or quite likely" to buy Under Armour products in the next 12 months, compared with just 48% three years prior. Additionally, consumers find Under Armour products highly stylish and functional compared with those of other top brands:

Screen Shot 2017 03 24 at 11.10.23 AMJefferies

The Jefferies team sees big opportunities in athleisure and women's wear as well. Under Armour makes only about 5% of its revenue today on athleisure products, compared with Nike's 25%. Athleisure has been a hot topic in the industry for a few years, but Jefferies doesn't think it's too late for Under Armour to catch up.

About 30% of the company's sales today are in women's apparel; Under Armour has expressed a desire to get that number up t0 50%.

Jefferies thinks negative sentiment on the stock may be overdone, as Under Armour is the most shorted stock in the S&P 500. If Jefferies is right, a major short squeeze could be on the way.

Under Armour's stock is up by more than 3%. Click here for a real-time UAA chart.

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