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Analysts Defend Nike (NKE) After BofA/Merrill Lynch Downgrade Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Shares of Nike (NKE) were lower in early afternoon trading on Monday as Bank of America/Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to "underperform" from "neutral." The firm also lowered its price target on the stock to $45 from $55.

Despite today's downgrade, Lebenthal Asset Management CEO Jim Lebenthal and Short Hills Capital CIO Stephen Weiss defended the Beaverton, OR-based athletic apparel company during Monday's "Fast Money Halftime Report" on CNBC.

"This is a stock that traditionally has traded in the...