Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI) Q2:16 Preview: Wedbush Weighs in

Ahead of second quarter earnings to be reported after market close on Thursday, August 4th, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter remains bullish on video game publishing giant Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI). Pachter reiterates a Buy rating with a price target of $43, marking a 7% increase from where ATVI stock is currently trading.

From a positive standpoint, Pachter projects Activision will bring in revenue of $1,475 million along with earnings per share of $0.46. Consider that against the Street’s respective estimates of $1,452 million and $0.42. Activision has set guidance of $1,375 million and $0.38. Just this past month, Pachter raised his second quarter revenue estimate by $75 million and earnings per share estimate by $0.06, as he saw promise in video game Overwatch’s early success. However, Pachter explains he has “maintained expectations for the 2H, citing sales pull forward and Brexit fallout.” Meanwhile, on the tails of Overwatch’s recent wave of success, the analyst has in turn doubled the second quarter sell-in estimate to a total of 8 million units, with additional expectation for 10 million units to be sold by the end of the year.

Highlighting significant sell-through growth from key game, Call of Duty, stemming from bundling momentum, Pachter anticipates an upsurge in gamers re-ordering. Pachter asserts, “In total, we believe that the company could deliver a beat of over $0.10 should it choose; however, it may accelerate capitalized software amortization and add to its reserves, resulting in a more modest beat of $0.06 or so. With Overwatch enjoying high-profile success, it is uncertain whether investors would react favorably to only a modest beat.”

The analyst predicts revenue for the full year will come in at $6,400 million with earnings per share of $1.96. Compare Pachter’s projections against the Street’s expectation of this year’s revenue of $,6366 million falling slightly under, as well as earnings per share of $1.87. Meanwhile, Activision indicates lower guidance of $6,275 million in revenue and $1.78 in earnings per share for the rest of the year. Pachter comments, “We expect management to cite Brexit and a crowded Q4 release window as reasons for its conservative approach.” Particularly once EA Games releases its major launches, Pachter counts upon positive momentum to help bridge the gap of lowered guidance. By 2018, the analyst predicts Activision has real potential to earn over an excess of $3.00, “should it capture King’s untapped advertising opportunity and deal synergies, suggesting its stock is significantly undervalued.” For now, Pachter bullishly waits for Thursday, what could be a high earnings day for the gaming titan.

We find it important that you take every new analyst’s notes with a grain of salt, as they often do successfully impact stock prices, but we advise wisely to take check their performance. According to TipRanks, Michael Pachter is a one-star analyst, ranked #3,247 out of 4,085 analysts. He carries a success rate of 50%, and on average, loses 1.0% in profits per each recommendation he makes.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate ATVI stock is a Strong Buy. Based on 15 analysts who have offered recommendations for Activision Blizzard in the last 3 months, 80% rate a Buy, with 20% maintaining a Hold. The average price target stands at $42.82, marking a nearly 7% upside.

Read More: Analyst Speculates on Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI) Ahead of Earnings »

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