Manufacturer of athletic apparel, Under Armour , is working product placement to its advantage. Not only do sponsorships and endorsement deals have the company's familiar logo and brand name splayed across the nation's athletes, but UA has gone prime-time as well. Catching the latest episode of one of my favorite programs, Friday Night Lights, (Friday nights on NBC, 9:00 p.m./8:00 central), I caught one of the high-school football players on the sidelines, an Under Armour stocking cap blocking out the cool Texas breeze.
But even prominent media attention couldn't save UA from a downgrade this morning; Morgan Stanley reduced its opinion on the stock to an underweight rating from an equal weight. In laymen's terms, this marks a downgrade to sell from hold. Covering analyst Brian McGough also reduced his ratings on other footwear and apparel names, including Carter's (CRI) and Jones Apparel (JNY). He noted that the worst is not over for apparel and footwear retail and cited increased labor costs in China, where 85% of the footwear industry's merchandise is constructed.
UA is currently down 3.6% and is testing the support of its 20-month moving average, which has never been violated since the trendline came to be several months ago. Options players are taking this opportunity to trade front-month puts; the November 45 strike has seen almost 3,000 contracts change hands, and the November 50 put has seen 3,042 contracts trade.