Under Armour’s “robust” international growth should help the athletic apparel retailer reach attainable earnings goals for both the first quarter and the year, according to Deutsche Bank.

Analyst Paul Trussell upgraded shares of Under Armour to hold from sell Monday, arguing that its “rapidly growing” international business could help balance sluggish sales in North America.

“First-quarter and fiscal year 2018 earnings are attainable in our view, reflecting improved sell-through of new products and a commitment to cost reduction,” Trussell wrote in a note to clients. “While North American wholesale trends continue to face pressure, new accounts partially offset and we believe international growth remains robust as we note Under Armour’s peers in the athletic space recently produced outsized growth overseas, particularly in China.”

The Chinese government’s new investment in physical education, athletic facilities and sports leagues should jumpstart the country’s athletic apparel market, the analyst said.

“We believe the opportunity to grow internationally on the top-line remains robust as Under Armour’s peers in the athletic space continue to produce outsized growth. Many in our athletic coverage (Lululemon, Under Armour, and Nike) have called out international as a main component of growth, particularly driven by China.”

The analyst increased his price target to $16 from $13, implying little change from Friday’s closing price of $16.10 over the next 12 months. Shares of the sportswear retailer rallied following the Deutsche upgrade, rallying 1.8 percent in premarket trading.

Trussell’s first-quarter earnings per share estimate of negative $0.06 cents is a penny short of Wall Street expectations, according to FactSet data, while his 2019 year-end forecast of positive $0.34 is better than consensus.



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