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Nike Rallies After Rosy Sales Outlook Restores Investors' Faith

  • Company also plans to sell directly on Amazon, Instagram
  • North American sales will gain this year after first-half dip

Nike Inc. rallied after the athletic brand delivered a rosy forecast and announced plans to forge a closer relationship with shoppers, a move that will let Amazon and Instagram users buy its sneakers directly.

The athletic brand expects sales to increase by a mid- to high-single-digit percentage this year, excluding currency effects. The prospect of faster growth helped send shares of Nike up as much as 8.5 percent in late trading on Thursday.

The upbeat forecast follows a slowdown at Nike, especially in the key North American market, that had raised concerns the sporting-goods giant was losing its edge. Adidas AG, a hot commodity in the U.S. after falling out of favor for years, has been a particular threat.

But Nike assured investors Thursday that the region will rebound. While North American sales are expected to dip in the first half of fiscal 2018, they should post a gain for the full year. New products will be key to the resurgence, Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker said.

“I’ve never felt as energized by what we have from innovation coming into the pipeline,” he said on a conference call. “That’s why we’re so confident.”

The shares rose as high as $57.69 in after-hours trading. The stock had lost 3.6 percent in the past year through Thursday’s close.

Nike also posted better-than-projected earnings in the fiscal fourth...