Does the Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI) Rally Have Legs?

Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI) is notching new highs amid "Call of Duty" buzz, and an exodus of bears could push the shares higher

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Dec 29, 2015 at 11:40 AM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

Video game maker Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) has been on an absolute tear in 2015, nearly doubling on the charts. In fact, the stock just notched an all-time best of $39.93, and was last seen 1.3% higher at $39.55, as analysts wax optimistic on "Call of Duty: Black Ops III" holiday sales. What's more, it looks like some option buyers are gambling on even higher highs for ATVI this holiday-shortened week.

Intraday call volume is running at twice the average pace, and has more than quadrupled ATVI put volume thus far. Apparent buy-to-open action has been spotted at the weekly 12/31 39.50- and 40-strike calls, meaning traders expect the shares to muscle north of the strikes -- and deeper into record-high territory -- through Thursday's close, when the options expire. Risk, meanwhile, is limited to the initial premium paid, should the calls remain out of the money.

ATVI's short-term options can be had at a relative bargain right now, too. The equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) sits at 27%, higher than just 21% of all other readings from the past year.

Meanwhile, ATVI's rally could have legs, should bears hit the exits. Short interest represents 16.8% of the stock's total available float, and would take more than eight sessions to buy back, at ATVI's average daily trading volume -- plenty of fuel for a short squeeze.

As alluded to earlier, Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) has been unstoppable on and off the charts. Only two stocks have outperformed ATVI during the past six months, and the video game concern could be on portfolio managers' radar this week. Plus, as with this wearable device maker, analysts are applauding holiday sales trends. Pacific Crest Securities today said its checks "have consistently mentioned [Call of Duty] as the top game this holiday season," and said it remains "positive on ATVI headed into 2016."

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