Activision Blizzard (ATVI) Cut to Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report report published on Thursday.

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.”

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Several other analysts also recently weighed in on the company. KeyCorp set a $83.00 target price on Activision Blizzard and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 4th. BidaskClub downgraded Activision Blizzard from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research report on Saturday, March 17th. Vetr upgraded Activision Blizzard from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating and set a $83.78 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, March 15th. Citigroup reiterated a positive rating and issued a $87.00 price objective (up previously from $78.00) on shares of Activision Blizzard in a research report on Monday, March 12th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded Activision Blizzard from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, March 1st. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, twenty-five have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $75.03.

Shares of NASDAQ:ATVI opened at $65.88 on Thursday. Activision Blizzard has a twelve month low of $48.50 and a twelve month high of $79.63. The company has a market cap of $50,995.22, a P/E ratio of 32.14, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.83 and a beta of 1.16. The company has a quick ratio of 1.77, a current ratio of 1.78 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.46.

Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, February 8th. The company reported $0.94 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.92 by $0.02. Activision Blizzard had a return on equity of 17.48% and a net margin of 3.89%. The firm had revenue of $2.64 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.55 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.65 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 7.7% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts forecast that Activision Blizzard will post 2.52 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Director Robert J. Corti sold 88,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, February 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $69.88, for a total value of $6,149,440.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 129,562 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $9,053,792.56. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, insider Stephen G. Wereb sold 120,521 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $72.38, for a total value of $8,723,309.98. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 48,511 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,511,226.18. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 2,701,258 shares of company stock valued at $191,727,094. 2.12% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. increased its holdings in Activision Blizzard by 80.9% during the 4th quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 108,861 shares of the company’s stock valued at $6,893,000 after purchasing an additional 48,667 shares in the last quarter. QUANTRES ASSET MANAGEMENT Ltd acquired a new stake in Activision Blizzard during the 4th quarter valued at $1,171,000. Fox Run Management L.L.C. acquired a new stake in Activision Blizzard during the 4th quarter valued at $731,000. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd increased its holdings in Activision Blizzard by 1.8% during the 4th quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 227,499 shares of the company’s stock valued at $14,405,000 after purchasing an additional 4,100 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. increased its holdings in Activision Blizzard by 129.4% during the 3rd quarter. Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. now owns 18,917 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,220,000 after purchasing an additional 10,670 shares in the last quarter. 85.57% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About Activision Blizzard

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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