Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday, April 12th.
According to Zacks, “Activision’s biggest problem is that it depends heavily on a handful of franchises. Though Activision has a powerful lineup of games that can be repeatedly upgraded, there is no assurance that a particular game will be a hit. Moreover, the video game publishing industry is intensely competitive which begets caution. Additionally, continued investment in the digital market may also hurt its profitability in the near term. The company has mixed record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. However, Activision's enviable IP, strength in digital business, creation of a studio and foray into e-sports bodes well for long-term growth. Shares have outperformed the industry in the past year.”
Several other research firms also recently weighed in on ATVI. Vetr downgraded shares of Activision Blizzard from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $83.48 target price for the company. in a research report on Monday, March 12th. Citigroup reissued a positive rating and issued a $87.00 target price (up previously from $78.00) on shares of Activision Blizzard in a research report on Monday, March 12th. Stifel Nicolaus reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $77.00 price target on shares of Activision Blizzard in a report on Thursday, February 1st. BidaskClub raised shares of Activision Blizzard from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Thursday, March 1st. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $81.00 price target on shares of Activision Blizzard in a report on Friday, January 26th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have issued a hold rating, twenty-five have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $75.03.
Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 8th. The company reported $0.94 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.92 by $0.02. Activision Blizzard had a net margin of 3.89% and a return on equity of 17.48%. The firm had revenue of $2.64 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.55 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.65 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 7.7% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts expect that Activision Blizzard will post 2.52 earnings per share for the current year.
In other news, Director Brian G. Kelly sold 1,700,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 23rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.65, for a total value of $120,105,000.00. Following the transaction, the director now owns 69,474 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,908,338.10. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Dennis M. Durkin sold 71,488 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $75.65, for a total transaction of $5,408,067.20. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 151,314 shares in the company, valued at approximately $11,446,904.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 2,701,258 shares of company stock valued at $191,727,094. 2.12% of the stock is owned by insiders.
Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its holdings in Activision Blizzard by 5.8% during the 4th quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 13,644 shares of the company’s stock worth $865,000 after buying an additional 744 shares during the period. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC raised its holdings in Activision Blizzard by 13.6% during the 4th quarter. Checchi Capital Advisers LLC now owns 6,437 shares of the company’s stock worth $408,000 after buying an additional 769 shares during the period. CI Global Investments Inc. raised its holdings in Activision Blizzard by 1.1% during the 4th quarter. CI Global Investments Inc. now owns 69,123 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,377,000 after buying an additional 780 shares during the period. Jackson Wealth Management LLC raised its holdings in Activision Blizzard by 6.6% during the 4th quarter. Jackson Wealth Management LLC now owns 12,744 shares of the company’s stock worth $844,000 after buying an additional 788 shares during the period. Finally, Ellington Management Group LLC raised its holdings in Activision Blizzard by 16.7% during the 4th quarter. Ellington Management Group LLC now owns 5,600 shares of the company’s stock worth $355,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the period. 85.52% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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Activision Blizzard Company Profile
Activision Blizzard, Inc develops and distributes content and services on video game consoles, personal computers (PC), and mobile devices. The company operates through three segments: Activision Publishing, Inc; Blizzard Entertainment, Inc; and King Digital Entertainment. The company develops, publishes, and sells interactive software products and entertainment content for the console and PC platforms through retail and digital channels, including subscription, full-game, and in-game sales, as well as by licensing software to third-party or related-party companies; and offers downloadable content.
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