Foot Locker, Finish Line Rise as Athletic-Shoe Demand Increases

Athletic-shoe retailers Foot Locker Inc. and Finish Line Inc. climbed in New York trading after a Bank of America Corp. analyst raised his recommendations on the companies, citing strong footwear demand.

Foot Locker was upgraded to neutral, and Finish Line was boosted to buy, by Robert Ohmes. He’d previously rated both companies underperform, the equivalent of a sell. He cited "strong momentum in casual athletic footwear."

Both chains have been riding the popularity of athletic gear, including sneakers, being worn more often. The trend that’s been dubbed "athleisure" has helped yoga pants and running shoes become everyday mainstays for millions of consumers.

Indianapolis-based Finish Line surged as much as 9.3 percent to $18.30, while New York-based Foot Locker advanced as much as 5 percent to $67.18. Before Tuesday’s increase, Finish Line had been down 31 percent this year while Foot Locker was up 14 percent.

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