Thursday, January 23

Activision Blizzard, 9 more stocks to watch this week

Activision Blizzard, 9 more stocks to watch this week
The 'Call of Duty' video game maker tops StockScouter's latest list of 10 recommended stocks.

Compiled from StockScouter ratings by Verus Analytics

Last year was an important one for video game maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI), which owns the "Call of Duty" and "Skylander" franchises, as shares shot up nearly 70 percent. Will 2014 bring more good news?

Let’s start with 2013: In the second half of the year, the company bought out its majority owner, French conglomerate Vivendi (VIVHY) -- a relief to investors who had considered the outside company’s 61 percent stake an albatross weighing down the stock.

In November, Activision Blizzard reported better-than-expected earnings. However, the company warned investors that sales of “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” the latest iteration of its hit franchise, would lag those of 2012’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” as consumers transitioned to two new game consoles: Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox One and Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation 4. (Microsoft owns and publishes MSN Money.)

Despite the comparative slowdown, “Ghosts” was still a top-selling game over the holidays. And as for 2014, Activision Blizzard CEO Eric Hirshberg sees the company’s next big release – “Destiny,” slated for this year – as a potential billion-dollar franchise.

Shares of ATVI get a '10' from the StockScouter rating system on MSN Money, the highest score possible. Based on StockScouter's analysis, shares of Activision Blizzard are expected to significantly outperform the market over the next six months with average risk.

Activision Blizzard also appears on StockScouter's latest list of 10 top stocks to watch right now.

Read the full Scouter report on ATVI here.

MGM Resorts International (MGM)

We think the StockScouter rating system from Verus Analytics and MSN Money is one of the best tooks you can use when you're trying to decide where to invest.

StockScouter looks for stocks whose business fundamentals, price behavior, valuation and stock-ownership characteristics appear to predict a rising price in the future, based on how those factors have influenced stock prices in the past.

The system assigns each stock an expected six-month return and balances that return against the stock's expected volatility.

Scouter rates stocks on a scale of 1 to 10, and ratings can change daily. Ratings and data in the chart above were current as of this article's publication date.

In addition to the daily top 10 list described above, StockScouter is used by investment research firm Verus Analytics (previously known as the quantitative business unit of Gradient Analytics) to generate a monthly benchmark portfolio of stocks that, refreshed monthly, has outperformed the market since its inception in August 2001.

An investor who began in 2001 by investing in each of the benchmark portfolio's top 10 stocks at the start of the month, selling them at the end of the month and then starting fresh with a new group of 10 stocks, would have generated returns, before trading costs and taxes, of 1,039 percent through Dec. 31, 2013.

Writer Jon Markman, at the time a columnist for MSN Money, collaborated with company researchers on the tool.

Markman suggested rolling over the top 10 stocks every six months to hold down trading costs, a strategy that might be a better fit for most investors; that would yield different results, which would vary based on your starting point.

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