Optimism Builds Around Outperforming Activision Blizzard, EA

Morgan Stanley handed out fresh "overweight" ratings on Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) and Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA)

Alex Eppstein
Sep 23, 2016 at 10:13 AM
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Video game stocks are off to a fast start, after receiving some positive analyst attention. In particular, Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) and Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) are both higher on the latest round of brokerage notes from Morgan Stanley.

Starting with ATVI, the stock is no stranger to optimism within the analyst community. After all, 11 of 15 brokerages rate the shares a "buy" or better, compared to four "holds" and not a single "sell" opinion. This glass-half-full approach is being echoed at Morgan Stanley, which started coverage on ATVI with an "overweight" rating.

On the charts, Activision Blizzard, Inc. is down 0.2% at $44.43 at last check, but hit yet another record high of $45.12 yesterday -- helping make sense of the analyst optimism. Brokerage firms aren't the only ones with lofty expectations, either. Options traders have bought to open 7.54 ATVI calls for every put during the last two weeks at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). The corresponding call/put volume ratio ranks in the high 84th percentile of its annual range.

Similarly, EA's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 7.10 checks in just 4 percentage points from a 12-month peak, suggesting traders are more bullish than usual toward the shares. Plus, among the 15 covering analysts, there are 12 "buy" or better endorsements, compared to three "holds" and not one "sell" rating. Now included among the brokerage firms drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid on EA is Morgan Stanley, which assumed coverage with an "overweight" recommendation.

The bullish note has Electronic Arts Inc. 0.7% higher at $83.74. In fact, the video game stock earlier touched an all-time high of $84.50, and has advanced nearly 22% on a year-to-date basis.

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