Sweat it out

Underachieving at Under Armour

Good morning, aerodynamic athletes. This is your Stock Market Rundown for March 19th, 2023. Thanks for reading. Let’s get going:


A football player is an unlikely fashion designer. But Kevin Plank was inspired by his own sweat. While playing football at the University of Maryland in the mid-90s, Plank was annoyed by how often he had to change his sweat-soaked cotton T-shirts.

He realized athletes would buy a sweat-wicking “base layer” made of modern synthetic fabrics. After designing a prototype, he started selling shirts to athletes out of the trunk of his car. The shirts were emblazoned with the name of his new company: Under Armour. 

The gear was a cult hit with athletes, and Plank went from selling 500 shirts in his first year of operation, to a NASDAQ IPO in 2005 and billions in annual revenue.

Plank stepped down as CEO in 2019 (while remaining chairman), and for a while it looked like he might dedicate himself to his rich-guy hobbies, like raising racehorses and distilling whiskey.

But since Plank’s exit, the company’s C-suite has seen more rotation than a defensive line, with three different CEOs coming and going in the past four years. Now, Under Armour has made an unexpected play by ousting the most recent short-lived top exec, and reinstalling Plank at the helm.

The stock has been cut in half from when Plank was CEO, so he’s got a lot of blocking and tackling to do. Shareholders just have to hope the star quarterback can complete one more Hail Mary pass.

What do you think? Chat with me in the comments:

  • Trading platform Robinhood saw assets swell last month, boosted by Bitcoin’s resurgence. If you want to invest your money in crypto assets named after cute dog breeds and backed by absolutely nothing, log on today.

  • Microsoft is promoting an AI-powered cybersecurity tool. Can it stop boomers from falling for Facebook romance scams and sending their retirement funds overseas via Western Union?

  • When it comes to market predictions, Wall Street’s crystal ball is usually a little foggy, but nevertheless, they persist. Bank of America has forecast that the S&P 500 will end 2024 at 5,400, around 5% upside from current levels.

  • Ratings agency Fitch just affirmed the United States’ credit rating at AA+ and “stable”, unlike the unpatriotic schlubs at Moody’s who downgraded the USA to “negative”. Maybe the Navy should do a flyover of their office.

That's all for now, esteemed colleagues. Catch you back here tomorrow morning. Yours in capitalism, The Axe

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