• The U.S.-Trained Coder Is Helping NetEase Find a New Life Beyond Games
    Bloomberg

    The U.S.-Trained Coder Is Helping NetEase Find a New Life Beyond Games

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.For decades, NetEase Inc. has been the perennial runner-up to the likes of Tencent Holdings Ltd. in China’s evolving internet landscape. Now it’s betting on a bookish computer scientist to catapult it to the top of the class in the nation’s $36 billion online education market.Zhou Feng, chief executive officer of NetEase Youdao, is charged with helping NetEase escape from under Tencent’s enormous shadow and find life beyond video games. The U.S.-trained software coder handpicked by billionaire founder William Ding Lei is creating an all-in-one learning platform to tap the lucrative space where education and technology overlap. To bankroll that expansion, the company could float Youdao, last valued at $1.1 billion, as soon as this year.Zhou is counting on a decades-old custom. Every summer, millions of Chinese high school students sit through a grueling two-day college entrance exam, or gaokao, that helps determine the course of their lives. That’s why China’s tiger moms and dads have long sent their kids from as early as kindergarten age to private tutoring classes for English, math and sciences.Intense competition has fueled an education boom, particularly targeting the K-12 group that includes students from kindergarten through high school, creating a coterie of multi-billion-dollar corporations. Leading players like New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. and TAL Education Group that still rely mainly on in-class teaching have gone public in the U.S. and seen their shares soar. Online startups such as the Tencent-backed VIPKid are still trying to convince parents that digital instruction can be as good, if not better than brick-and-mortar classrooms.Through combining content with the latest technology, Zhou sees a business chance for Youdao, whose name loosely translates to “there’s a way”. Courses can be taught through high-speed live-streaming, enabling smooth communication between teacher and student. Artificial intelligence-powered “tutors” can grade homework and use data to evaluate student test results, he said.“That’s what we have always been good at,” said Zhou, 40, a University of California at Berkeley alumnus with a penchant for blending English words into conversations. “Almost every industry in China has been transformed by the internet, but that’s not yet the case for education.”Revenue for China’s online education market is estimated to have reached around 252 billion yuan ($35.7 billion) in 2018, and is expected to more than double in 2022, with 264 million paying users, according to iResearch.But there’s yet to be a clear winner -- even for top tuition providers like New Oriental, its digital arm Koolearn in 2017 only accounted for less than 1% of the total revenue in the local online teaching market, according to Frost & Sullivan data cited in its prospectus. What sets Youdao apart is its exclusive focus on online and its expansion into education-related hardware. It has launched a slew of products from apps for note-taking and children’s stories to smart devices like a 799 yuan electronic dictionary pen, which allows students to scan printed text and translate it instantaneously.“NetEase’s technology support and the company’s online DNA and roots should make its products more sophisticated than traditional education providers,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Vey-Sern Ling. Still, not having physical classrooms means it could be difficult for Youdao to expand beyond structured, standardized learning or test prep, he said.NetEase could do with a win. Founder and CEO Ding has a master plan for China’s second largest game developer to delve into three sectors including e-commerce, music streaming and online education, but the result is best described as mixed. Its music arm has grappled with rising content costs, as it has to sublicense a large chunk of songs from its much bigger rival, Tencent Music Entertainment Group. Although e-commerce has grown to become NetEase’s largest division after gaming in terms of revenue, it sold its popular import platform Kaola to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in a $2 billion deal.That magnifies the importance of Youdao and its leader, with whom Ding shares a long history. Back in 2004, when Zhou was pursuing his doctorate degree in computer science, NetEase’s CEO came across his paper on filtering junk emails, and, ironically, shot him a message that was mistaken as spam. It had no body text but just a subject line: “I’m Ding Lei, I have a technical question for you.”The two eventually got in touch via phone calls, and Zhou worked part-time for NetEase for three years. After earning his doctorate in 2007, he officially joined the company as lead architect for Youdao in Beijing, which at the time was trying to morph from a digital dictionary into a web search engine. To challenge the local leader Baidu Inc., Youdao’s approach was to operate a slew of vertical search services at one time, in everything from news to blogs to maps.Those efforts failed, and in 2012 Zhou decided to close the search operation. “That was when we hit our lowest point,” he said. Zhou shifted the 400-person team to develop learning apps instead.Youdao’s revenue rose 60% in 2018 from a year earlier, while sales for K-12 courses increased three-fold in the same period, he said. Online courses have surpassed advertising as Youdao’s largest income stream, Zhou said.Now of the nearly 2,000 employees Zhou oversees at Youdao, half are teachers and other staffers dedicated to building up its online class portfolio. “Learning is much more difficult than playing video games,” he said.To contact the reporter on this story: Zheping Huang in Hong Kong at zhuang245@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Google Pays Up in France
    Zacks

    Google Pays Up in France

    Google's settlement with French tax authorities amounted to a billion dollars, the highest payout in Europe so far.

  • Take-Two's (TTWO) Borderlands 3 Launch Boosts Gaming Lineup
    Zacks

    Take-Two's (TTWO) Borderlands 3 Launch Boosts Gaming Lineup

    Take-Two (TTWO) is expected to benefit from portfolio strength with the launch of Borderlands 3 despite intensifying competition.

  • Electronic Arts Expands Portfolio With the Release of NHL 20
    Zacks

    Electronic Arts Expands Portfolio With the Release of NHL 20

    Electronic Arts (EA) is expected to benefit from portfolio strength with the release of NHL 20 despite intensifying competition.

  • Here are 3 Reasons Why SNAP Stock is Soaring in 2019
    InvestorPlace

    Here are 3 Reasons Why SNAP Stock is Soaring in 2019

    This has been a good year for Snap (NYSE:SNAP). Snap stock is up 186% in 2019, and it even reached a new 52-week high at the end of July. Source: dennizn / Shutterstock.com SNAP's stock growth continues to outperform peers like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR). CEO Evan Spiegel been selling millions of the company's shares. Just last week he sold over $33 million worth of SNAP stock. This seems to be a recent trend as both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos have also been selling millions of their company's shares.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsSnap has been steadily improving its fundamentals after a rough 2018. The company's user base continues to steadily grow, which has boosted revenue and increased investor confidence. * 7 Discount Retail Stocks to Buy for a Recession Even still, some Wall Street analysts are hesitant when it comes to SNAP and the stock is considered a moderate buy. So is Snapchat stock worth investing in? Here are three things to consider first. 1\. User Base GrowthIn 2018, Snap's user base struggled after the launch of Instagram Stories, but the company has experienced a major shift this year. During the first quarter, Snap added four million daily active users and this figure increased to 13 million during the second quarter. The company now boasts 500 million monthly active users. This growth was largely fueled by Snap's updated version of its app and an increased focused on AR technology. Additionally, Snap recently announced it is partnering with Spotify to allow users to share music and podcasts directly within the app. 2\. Snap Flies under Regulation RadarThis year, the news has been relatively light when it comes to SNAP. The company has avoided much of the criticism it endured in 2018 over top executives leaving the company. Most importantly, SNAP avoided the regulatory issues that have plagued Facebook and other big tech companies. Facebook, in particular, has dealt with a $5 billion FTC fine and criticism over its new cryptocurrency Libra. 3\. Snap and GamingSnap's advertising business continues to be a strong source of revenue but that company's gaming business is where the real opportunity could lie.Last April, the company launched Snap Games, which quickly attracted the attention of the gaming developer Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA).Zynga introduced a new battle royale game exclusively on Snap's platform called Tiny Royale. SNAP also introduced five other titles when it launched in the spring. According to Evercore ISI analyst Kevin Rippey, Snap Games could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales by 2020. The Bottom Line on Snap StockDuring its most recent earnings report, company executives seemed optimistic about SNAP's future growth prospects. The company's third-quarter revenue guidance has SNAP earning between $410 million and $435 million in revenue. And this is entirely possible if the company can keep growing its user base, increase engagement on its platform, and find new sources of revenue. All in all, we can expect good things from SNAP stock in the coming years. As of this writing, Jamie Johnson did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Big IPO Stocks From 2019 to Watch * 7 Discount Retail Stocks to Buy for a Recession * 7 Stocks to Buy Benefiting From Millennial Money The post Here are 3 Reasons Why SNAP Stock is Soaring in 2019 appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Glu Mobile (GLUU) Gains As Market Dips: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Glu Mobile (GLUU) Gains As Market Dips: What You Should Know

    In the latest trading session, Glu Mobile (GLUU) closed at $5.53, marking a +1.28% move from the previous day.

  • Carl Icahn's Top 6 Holdings
    GuruFocus.com

    Carl Icahn's Top 6 Holdings

    Activist investor is moving fund office from New York to Florida Continue reading...

  • EA reportedly nearing deal to move its Central Florida office
    American City Business Journals

    EA reportedly nearing deal to move its Central Florida office

    Redwood City, California-based video game giant Electronic Arts Inc. — whose Orlando-based EA Tiburon Inc. is the largest video game studio in Florida — is nearing a deal to move from its 128,000-square-foot Maitland office to downtown Orlando's Creative Village, sources told Orlando Business Journal. Aaron Gray — executive vice president with JLL who represents EA in the negotiations — declined to comment. In addition, representatives with EA and Creative Village could not be reached for comment.

  • Why Activision Blizzard Stock Is Finally Rebounding
    InvestorPlace

    Why Activision Blizzard Stock Is Finally Rebounding

    In retrospect, the recent rally of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) stock shouldn't be the least bit surprising. Activision Blizzard stock struggled last year, but the selloff of Activision Blizzard stock was much greater than the proverbial crime ATVI had committed. A rebound was largely inevitable, particularly once analysts got on board.Source: NPS_87 / Shutterstock.com Although ATVI stock is now overbought and ripe for a little bit of profit-taking, a new, bullish outlook has been established that replaces the older, pessimistic one.In other words, analysts' upgrades and price target hikes are good reasons to put Activision Blizzard stock back on your radar.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips The Excessive Punishment of ATVI StockJust a little over a year ago, video-game publisher Activision Blizzard could seemingly do no wrong. In 2018, ATVI stock reached what would eventually be a record high, and it had proven to be one of the top trades of 2017 and 2018.Then it all unraveled. A combination of lackluster demand for its newest Call of Duty entry, the strength of the hit online game Fortnite, a poor holiday-season outlook and the fact that its World of Warcraft game wouldn't be revised in 2019 all contributed to a tumble of more than 50% by Activision Blizzard stock.Other, more philosophical blunders were also made, such as failing to keep a finger on the pulse of how gamers are buying their titles and what sort of games they want.It all made Activision Blizzard stock an easy target for short sellers and bearish analysts. Indeed, the surprisingly poor numbers and the ensuing downgrades caused ATVI stock and the shares of its rivals, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) and Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO), to drop sharply.Now the opposite scenario appears to be unfolding. What They Said and What It Means"Going forward, ATVI should benefit from lapsed players coming back to games like Call of Duty or Overwatch as excitement around Fortnite cools," wrote BMO Capital's Gerrick Johnson in the note accompanying his upgrade of Activision Blizzard stock. Gerrick goes on to say, "Also, the idea that Fortnite exposed a new generation of gamers (including many females) to the shooter genre could be an added tailwind for ATVI."Also bullish on ATVI stock recently was Instinet analyst Andrew Marok. He upgraded ATVI stock from "Neutral" to "Buy,",contending that the recent "launch of World of Warcraft Classic has driven strong, above-expectations engagement in the franchise."Stephens analyst Jeff Cohen just upgraded Activision Blizzard stock as well, pointing out the potential of its upcoming Call of Duty title and saying "We believe 2019 numbers are now de-risked due to the successful launch of World of Warcraft Classic and the announcement of a Nintendo Switch port for Overwatch."The common themes are crystal-clear.The real underpinnings for more gains by Activision Blizzard stock, however, transcend the words. Look at the bigger picture, and specifically, the timing and speed at which that picture is improving. It's all falling into place at the same time for ATVI, and that provides a powerful, positive, upward push.Johnson even acknowledged as much, noting to investors "we are increasing the valuation multiple (on Activision Blizzard stock ) to 20x from 17x. As investors get more comfortable with the turnaround story and as new catalysts develop, we believe the company's valuation multiple will expand." The Bottom Line on Activision Blizzard StockActivision Blizzard isn't just the beneficiary of improving sentiment, to be clear. ATVI has thought a great about the business of designing and then selling video games.It knows it has to push its way deeper into eSports. It also knows it has to respect and even fear the rise of mobile gaming and independently-developed titles. It knows the days of disc-based and cartridge-based sales are numbered, and that they will be replaced by digital downloads, which opens the door to all sorts of competition.It's addressing those challenges though. For example, it's ramping up its eSports efforts, leveraging Overwatch. The company has tapped ratings agency Nielsen Holdings (NYSE:NLSN) to measure the fiscal benefit of sponsoring eSports events, which is a hint of a growing monetization push.Still, more than anything else, Activision Blizzard stock is compelling again, mostly because investors are starting to believe in it again.As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can learn more about him at his website jamesbrumley.com, or follow him on Twitter, at @jbrumley. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Big IPO Stocks From 2019 to Watch * 7 Discount Retail Stocks to Buy for a Recession * 7 Stocks to Buy Benefiting From Millennial Money The post Why Activision Blizzard Stock Is Finally Rebounding appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Activision and 3 more momentum stocks to watch
    MarketWatch

    Activision and 3 more momentum stocks to watch

    Activision Blizzard (ATVI) rose 54 cents to $55.45 on 10.9 million shares Thursday, more than 1 1/2 times its average volume. The move, on an analyst upgrade of the electronic gaming company, popped the stock to as high as $57.52 intraday, above lateral resistance, before it backed off. Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC) jumped 88 cents, or 4.3%, to $21.01 on no news.

  • Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Now in Beta
    Zacks

    Activision Blizzard's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Now in Beta

    Beta of Activision Blizzard's (ATVI) upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game is now available exclusively for PlayStation 4 users.

  • Uber (UBER) Lays Off 435 Employees to Improve Efficiency
    Zacks

    Uber (UBER) Lays Off 435 Employees to Improve Efficiency

    After layoffs in July, Uber (UBER) trims workforce again to drive its bottom line.

  • Apple Prices Arcade Aggressively: Should Gaming Players Worry?
    Zacks

    Apple Prices Arcade Aggressively: Should Gaming Players Worry?

    Apple's (AAPL) subscription-based gaming platform, Apple Arcade, holds the potential to disrupt the video game space.

  • 3 Big Stock Charts for Friday: Electronic Arts, Centurylink and Wynn Resorts
    InvestorPlace

    3 Big Stock Charts for Friday: Electronic Arts, Centurylink and Wynn Resorts

    The market didn't end yesterday's session at its high, but the 0.29% gain the S&P 500 was able to hang onto still translates into the third-straight winner. The Dow Jones Industrial Average logged its seventh consecutive win, with both indices still buoyed by renewed hopes that trade ties with China are on the verge of improving.Source: Shutterstock Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) led the charge with its 17% advance. Shares of the e-commerce platform continued the rally spurred by an upgrade from D.A. Davidson tendered earlier this week. Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) offered up a meaningful helping hand too, gaining 1.5% because it's one of the more pronounced beneficiaries of a more accommodating trade environment.Holding the market back more than any other was Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), down 4.3% in response to last quarter's lackluster revenue growth, which was underscored by the announcement that Co-CEO Mark Hurd will be taking medical leave to attend to an unnamed health-related matter.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 10 Big IPO Stocks From 2019 to Watch None of those names are particularly well-suited trading prospects headed into today's action, however. Instead, take a look at the stock charts of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), Centurylink (NYSE:CTL) and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN). Here's why. Centurylink (CTL)A little over a month ago, Centurylink was featured as a noteworthy name thanks to a repeated effort to break past a major technical ceiling. Although not yet over that hump, a string of higher lows and improving technical support suggested such a move was only a matter of time.That happened, in spades. In fact, the sheer speed of the breakout was enough to push CTL stock beyond another major technical barrier. Although now overextended and ripe for some profit-taking, the entire sequence of events says the path of least resistance is now upward. * Click to EnlargeThe ceiling at $12.43, plotted in blue on the daily chart, was the technical ceiling in question. Centurylink peaked there twice in July, but didn't flinch at that level earlier this week. * The strength of the move carried CTL stock past the 200-day moving average line as well, marked in white on both stock charts. The whole move also unfurled on above average volume. * Although ripe for a pushback, the fact that the 20-day moving average line is now above the purple 50-day line, and the fact that the 50-day line is above the 100-day moving average line is telling. Any stumble should be short-lived. Wynn Resorts (WYNN)After a rough 2018, a choppy 2019 is a relative win for Wynn Resorts. Technical support around $103, marked as a red dashed line on both stock charts, gets much of the credit for escaping would could have turned out to be a move to lower lows.There may still be trouble ahead, however, despite the bullishness we've seen so far this month. WYNN stock is already slowing as it nears what's known to be major resistance, and another clue says the damage has already been done. * 10 Battered Tech Stocks to Buy Now * Click to EnlargeThe resistance line in question is the convergence of the purple 50-day moving average line and the white 200-day moving average. Wynn Resorts shares only had to get near them on Thursday to start peeling back. * Simultaneously, the 50-day moving average line has now crossed back under the 200-day moving average. This so-called "death cross" is a hint that the bigger-picture undertow is bearish despite the recent gains. * Even if the rally isn't quelled here, there's another impending ceiling. The yellow dashed line that connects the key peaks going back to the early 2018 high could still stop the advance. Electronic Arts (EA)Finally, the implosion Electronic Arts shares suffered last year hasn't persisted into this year. In fact, EA stock looks like it's been trying to stage a full recovery of that meltdown.It hasn't done that yet, and may never actually do so. There are several major clues that suggest that rebound is more likely than not though. And, the chart has drawn some clear lines in the sand that will make clear if and when the stock moves into full-breakout mode. * Click to EnlargeThe most important line in the sand is the line that connects the lower highs seen since February's peak, plotted in yellow on both stock charts. This week's lull makes clear traders are hesitant to push past it. * Nevertheless, the convergence of all the key moving averages since June is bullish in and of itself. Better still, we're close to seeing a renewed bullish cross where the purple 50-day line moves above the 200-day moving average. * It's also not likely to be a mere coincidence that the area standing in the way of more upside lies right around a Fibonacci retracement line near $103. Moving above it should also be catalytic.As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can learn more about him at his website jamesbrumley.com, or follow him on Twitter, at @jbrumley. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Big IPO Stocks From 2019 to Watch * 7 Discount Retail Stocks to Buy for a Recession * 7 Stocks to Buy Benefiting From Millennial Money The post 3 Big Stock Charts for Friday: Electronic Arts, Centurylink and Wynn Resorts appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • China Video App Seeks Funds at $25 Billion Value Before IPO
    Bloomberg

    China Video App Seeks Funds at $25 Billion Value Before IPO

    (Bloomberg) -- Chinese startup Kuaishou is considering to a U.S. initial public offering to bankroll its expansion in short videos and fend off competition from TikTok-owner ByteDance Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.The company, backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., plans to list next year, the people said, requesting not to be named because the matter is private. One person said Kuaishou also weighed the option of going public this year. The video startup is raising more than $1 billion at a $25 billion valuation in a pre-IPO round mostly from Tencent, one of the people said.Kuaishou is an important part of Chinese social media giant Tencent’s strategy to compete against ByteDance, now the world’s most valuable startup. Tencent has devoted a lot of resources toward building a library of short and mini video offerings -- key to retaining user attention and boosting advertising revenue -- but has yet to catch its rival.“Tencent’s biggest enemy is ByteDance right now,” said David Dai, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Bernstein. “Tencent hasn’t been very successful in short videos in the past, so resorting to investing in other companies instead is its best option.”U.S.-listed shares of some of Kuaishou’s competitors fell. Momo Inc. fell 2.8%, the most in more than a week, while DouYu International Holdings Ltd. fell 1.9%, the most in about a month. Both under-performed the Nasdaq, which rose 0.3%.Read more: Tencent Tumbles After China’s Slowdown, ByteDance Hit Ad SalesTencent President Martin Lau said during an August earnings call that short and mini videos would be a key vertical for expansion.Kuaishou or “fast hand” first established its popularity among users in China’s smaller cities and rural areas, with people streaming slices of everyday life from harvesting corn to slurping noodles. It’s also been luring users in bigger cities and expanding its content to include everything from people playing video games to teenagers lip-syncing songs.Kuaishou was seeking funds in January last year at a valuation of $17 billion. The eight-year-old company, which was valued at $3 billion in January 2015 by CB Insights, also counts Sequoia and Morningside Group Holdings as backers. It had 110 million daily active users as of December 2017, according to its website. Annie He, a spokeswoman for Kuaishou didn’t respond to requests for comment. Tencent declined to comment in an emailed statement.“Kuaishou is the only one that can still counter ByteDance now,” Dai said.(Updates with shares from the fifth paragraph and adds chart.)To contact the reporters on this story: Crystal Tse in Hong Kong at ctse44@bloomberg.net;Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at ychen447@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, ;Fion Li at fli59@bloomberg.net, Colum Murphy, Edwin ChanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Is Activision Blizzard Stock A Buy Right Now?
    Investor's Business Daily

    Is Activision Blizzard Stock A Buy Right Now?

    Activision stock is down as gamers move to mobile and even free games. Here is what the fundamentals and technical analysis say about buying ATVI stock now.

  • Churchill Downs weighs in on Justify's failed drug test
    American City Business Journals

    Churchill Downs weighs in on Justify's failed drug test

    The Louisville racetrack said steps were taken in Kentucky to ensure his eligibility before and after the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

  • Help wanted: These top Orlando tech firms have 1,500+ open jobs
    American City Business Journals

    Help wanted: These top Orlando tech firms have 1,500+ open jobs

    There are more than 1,500 open positions at Central Florida's largest technology companies, including high-paying jobs such as electrical engineer and software developer.

  • Barrons.com

    Activision Blizzard Stock Keeps Rising as 2 More Analysts Join the Bullish Parade

    Shares of the videogame maker are up 20% in the past month, as Wall Street gets more bullish about World of Warcraft Classic and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

  • Glu Mobile (GLUU) Catches Eye: Stock Jumps 9.2%
    Zacks

    Glu Mobile (GLUU) Catches Eye: Stock Jumps 9.2%

    Glu Mobile (GLUU) saw a big move last session, as its shares jumped more than 9% on the day, amid huge volumes.

  • Benzinga

    Nomura Upgrades Activision Blizzard, Bullish On 'WoW Classic' And 'Overwatch'

    Marok said last month’s launch of "World of Warcraft Classic" has driven “strong, above-expectations engagement,” and "Overwatch" has added new features and a launch on Nintendo Switch. “This provides a much more favorable backdrop heading into November’s BlizzCon, which we expect will see the reveal of a "World of Warcraft" expansion for 2020 release and at least one of "Diablo 4" (more likely) or "Overwatch 2," which are both in development,” he wrote in a note. Marok also likes a positive initial review reception for the new "Modern Warfare" game launching next month, among other game-specific tailwinds he sees for the company.

  • Disney Rumored to Offload FoxNext Ahead of Disney+ Launch
    Zacks

    Disney Rumored to Offload FoxNext Ahead of Disney+ Launch

    Disney (DIS) is planning to divest FoxNext as it is reluctant to re-enter the highly competitive mobile gaming market ahead of the Disney+ launch.

  • Activision Blizzard Stock’s Rebound Will Run Out of Steam
    InvestorPlace

    Activision Blizzard Stock’s Rebound Will Run Out of Steam

    Gaming stocks are finally showing a little life again. After a dreadful couple of quarters, the gaming names have started to recover from their worst levels. Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) stock, in particular, is back to the $56 range after reaching $40 earlier this year.Source: Lauren Elisabeth / Shutterstock.com Is the optimism justified? Some analysts and traders are excited to see Activision Blizzard stock benefiting from product launches and events that will build engagement with the company's audience. Other observers, however, see Activision as a floundering company that has not achieved much in the way of long-term strategic goals.Which of these viewpoints will play out for ATVI stock over the next year?InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Dueling AnalystsAnalysts have taken opposite stances on ATVI stock so far this month. Stifel just raised its price target for Activision Blizzard stock from $57 to $65 last week. It did this because the company had poor sales figures last year. This, in turn, sets up strong comparisons for Activision going forward. Stifel noted the upcoming release of the next "Call of Duty" game along with the BlizzCon event as positive catalysts to help give the ATVI stock price a boost.While Stifel sees a clear path of short-term upside for Activision Blizzard stock, Cowen's Doug Creutz disagrees. He says that potential BlizzCon buzz is already priced into ATVI stock, given the recent run in Activision's share price. Meanwhile, Creutz put a damper on the "World of Warcraft Classic" excitement, saying that the enthusiasm will be difficult to monetize. * 10 Battered Tech Stocks to Buy Now Creutz values ATVI stock at just $48 per share. That'd be 15% downside from the current share price. He says that while Activision has some interesting opportunities coming up, the company has a lot to prove, given its poor organic growth performance over the past decade. Is Activision's Long-Term Strategy Working?As Creutz noted, Activision Blizzard stock has not been a great long-term performer. That's in part because management hasn't fully adapted to today's changing gaming landscape. They have made some reasonable moves, such as acquiring the King studio for mobile gaming.Overall, however, it seems they are a little short in terms of innovation. With "Call of Duty," for example, how long will they keep going with the one release a year model that doesn't change up the formula too much? "Call of Duty" sales have been declining in recent years -- there's only so much you can get from a brand before people tire of it.More broadly, Activision still relies heavily on single-time game purchases, which goes against the grain. Investors want more subscription or downloadable content recurring revenue streams. It's achieved those more favorable revenue splits within the Blizzard and King divisions. Unfortunately, those are not where Activision's blockbuster new games are coming from, and within that category, rivals like "Fortnite" continue to outshine Activision's content. Activision Blizzard Stock ValuationOn the one hand, you can certainly defend Activision's financial performance in recent years. Revenues, for example, are up from $4.6 billion in 2013 to $7.1 billion in the most recent year. Even accounting for the King acquisition, Activision has certainly been able to expand its overall business. The company hasn't let the growth of the gaming industry completely pass it by. Rivals like EA (NASDAQ:EA) and Take-Two (NASDAQ:TTWO) have outperformed ATVI stock, however.Activision's skeptics, however, would note that annual operating income is only up from $1.5 billion to $2 billion over the same stretch. Ideally, you'd expect more of that revenue growth to filter down to the bottom line. That's because digital transactions, subscriptions and micro-transactions/DLC content were all supposed to boost profit margins. Yet, Activision hasn't seen margins really explode as it has scaled up.In any case, Activision Blizzard stock is currently trading for 26x trailing earnings. That's not cheap, particularly for a hit-centered business. As Activision moves more to recurring revenues, it should be able to sustain a higher valuation ratio. Still, 26x earnings is quite steep. Analysts have forward earnings at a consensus 22.5x, which is much more reasonable.But those forward earnings estimates, in turn, require upcoming game launches to deliver on expectations. InvestorPlace's Luke Lango makes a solid argument for how Activision could have a stellar 2020. However, management will have execute before the market is going to reward Activision Blizzard stock with a much higher share price. My Verdict on ATVI StockIf you bought Activision Blizzard stock in 2017 or 2018, you might be tempted to argue that ATVI stock is still cheap here. After all, it hit $85 last year, so $56 must be a deal, right?But I don't think it's that simple. Activision, and the rest of the gaming stocks, got wildly overvalued last year. The sector faced reality earlier this year, with ATVI stock bottoming at $40. Since then, shares have rebounded more than 30% off the lows. That's plenty of upside, given the company's uncertain operating performance. Don't let the discount to last year's share price fool you. At 26x earnings, Activision Blizzard stock still comes with plenty of risk.At the time of this writing, Ian Bezek held no positions in any of the aforementioned securities. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Battered Tech Stocks to Buy Now * 7 Strong-Buy Stocks Hedge Funds Are Buying Now * The 7 Best Penny Stocks to Buy The post Activision Blizzard Stock's Rebound Will Run Out of Steam appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Dow Jones Today Turns Red After China Tariffs, ECB Stimulus Boost; Activision, Visa Stock Rise
    Investor's Business Daily

    Dow Jones Today Turns Red After China Tariffs, ECB Stimulus Boost; Activision, Visa Stock Rise

    Visa stock ran on the Dow Jones today, as LKQ and Activision lead as stock turn mixed early Thursday, despite a positive ECB vote and fresh trade war news.