The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony, Facebook and CNOOC

Zacks


For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – February 5, 2013 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), Microsoft (MSFT), Sony (SNE), Facebook (FB) and CNOOC Ltd (CEO).

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Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

EA Positive on “Dead Space 3” Success

Electronic Arts Inc.’s (EA) much-awaited Dead Space 3 has hit the ground running, with the demo version of the sci-fi action game registering approximately 2 million downloads on Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox Live Marketplace and Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation Network. Dead Space 3 is set to release on February 5, 2013 in North America and on February 8, 2013 in Europe.

EA also revealed that the current download was significantly higher than the franchise’s previous installment, Dead Space 2, and the new game garnered 90,000 new “likes” on social networking site Facebook (FB) from gamers across the world.

Dead Space 3 follows the adventures of Isaac Clarke and Ellie Langford, who get separated after their spaceship crash lands on the icy planet of Tau Volantis. The new game brings another character John Carver, who partners Isaac during co-operative missions.

Dead Space 3 is one of the most anticipated games of 2013 and the demo version download is an indication that the game is set to be a hit going forward. Dead Space is one of the most successful franchises of EA (6.7 million copies sold to date) and the publisher is making all efforts to make the new game a success.

We believe that EA’s strong digital portfolio and continuing growth in the online segment will drive top-line growth going forward.

However, we believe that soft video game industry performance, particularly due to weakness in retail sales amid an aging console system lifecycle and the cannibalizing effect of free-to-play games remain concerns in the near term. Moreover, overdependence on any particular new title could also impact the company’s results going forward.

Currently, EA has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

CNOOC Sets 2013 Budget

China's biggest offshore oil driller CNOOC Ltd (CEO) has proposed to invest around $12 billion to $14 billion in 2013 to attain an average annual output growth of 6% to 10% from 2011 to 2015.

CNOOC’s estimated net production for 2013 is 338–348 million barrels of oil equivalent (Boe), which is almost flat with the forecasted 2012 production of 341–343 million Boe.

The company intends to ramp up deepwater exploration during the year, despite continuous island clashes between China and its neighboring countries. The Chinese major has allocated 70% of its spending on development and expects to bring ten new oil and gas fields online offshore China. Another 19% and 11% of the capital is assigned for exploration and production respectively.

Of the new projects, the Liwan 3-1 is likely to be the first large-sized deepwater gas field offshore China. But the commencement of Suizhong 36-1 phase II adjustment will establish the huge prospect of CNOOC’s producing fields in this region. The company is expected to reach its construction peak in 2013, with 24 ongoing projects.

In 2013, the company expects to drill 140 exploration wells and maintain a reserve replacement ratio of more than 100%. CNOOC will also purchase 2-Dimensional (2D) and 3-Dimensional (3D) seismic data, which will boost deepwater exploration activities. Management expects 2013 to be a year of exploration, development and construction for future growth.

 

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