Barclays: Buy ATVI Stock on "Black Ops 4" Potential

The new price target for Activision Blizzard stock is in uncharted territory

Oct 15, 2018 at 10:30 AM
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Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) was already on our radar coming into today due to where the stock was trading on the charts, and now Barclays is jumping on the bullish bandwagon. The brokerage firm just upgraded ATVI to "overweight" from "equal weight" and hiked its price target to $86 from $79. The analyst note called out positive early engagement metrics for the company's just-released "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4," and also mentioned the potential for strong digital revenues through 2019 due to the game's new battle royale format.

Speaking of the new Call of Duty game, Activision said it set a single-day sales record. But despite all this, ATVI shares are sliding today, erasing pre-market gains due to broad-market headwinds. The stock is down 3.4% at $75.26, though this still leaves it above the 200-day moving average that's acted as a launching pad in 2018. Its year-to-date gain is north of 18%, and it touched a record high of $84.68 on Oct. 1.

Most analysts are already bullish on the equity, with 15 of 21 handing out "buy" or better recommendations. Sentiment in the options pits also continues to be seemingly upbeat. On Friday, when Black Ops 4 was released, more than 41,000 call options traded, two times the expected pace and roughly six times the number of puts that traded.

It's a similar setup in today's trading, too, with calls outpacing puts by a roughly 4-to-1 ratio, with volume set to top the expected amount. Overall, call open interest ranks in the 96th annual percentile.

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