Electronic Arts Volatility Expectations High Ahead "Anthem" Release

EA stock is trading up 1% before the open after Piper Jaffray's price-target hike

Feb 21, 2019 at 9:24 AM
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It's been an extremely volatile stretch for the shares of video game maker Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), as they made a sharp rebound from their post-earnings lows near $80 earlier this month thanks to the exceptional reception around its "Apex Legends" game. By the numbers, the equity's 30-day historical volatility has moved up to 88.4%, which ranks as an annual high.

As such, those looking to speculate on EA -- possibly expecting a similar reaction to its new "Anthem" game, due out tomorrow -- should be cautious, since its 30-day at-the-money implied volatility is now 44.2%, and stands in the 90th annual percentile, showing elevated volatility expectations at the moment. All the same, Piper Jaffray sees plenty of upside ahead for the stock.

Specifically, the brokerage firm this morning upwardly revised its price target to $111 from $99, and maintained its "overweight" designation, citing mostly positive commentary around the trailers for "Anthem." Interestingly, this clashes with negative reviews from Motherboard, which called the game a "hot mess," and Ars Technica used similar language, saying the title is a "stuttering, confusing, heartbreaking mess of an action game." 

Turning back to the charts, technical traders may notice how the 160-day moving average blocked Electronic Arts's recent breakout attempt. This trendline served as support for much of 2018, suggesting it could have switched roles to act as resistance. EA shares settled Wednesday at $98.63, representing a nearly 35% decline from their July record peak of $151.26. Most Wall Street analysts have remained bullish, though, handing out 17 "buy" or "strong buy" ratings, versus eight "holds" and zero "sells."

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