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Take-Two And Grand Theft Auto: Buy Or Sell?

Chris Lau, Kapitall: Gamers are anxiously awaiting the next release of Grand Theft Auto, but what about the company's investors?

The stock market often reacts ahead of events, discounting or adding a premium for what it expects in the near future. Take-Two Interactive’s ( TTWO ) stock price is no exception. The company is set to release Grand Theft Auto 5 on September 17, 2013. The stock is up an incredible 86% from its yearly low, and just 4.6% from the $19.25 reached in late August. 

[Read more from Kapitall: Ford and GM are Growing: Will Tesla Have to Sell Cars to Compete?]

Expectations high

Analysts have high expectations for Grand Theft Auto. The franchise sold more than 125 million times, so when a new version of the game is released, there is a good chance that initial sales will be very strong. For the week ending August 24, 2013, pre-orders for the game on Xbox 360 were 1.48 million, and 962,800 on the PS3.

Analysts have a consensus earnings estimate of $2.51 per share for the fiscal year ending March 2014. For fiscal 2015, the estimate is much lower: $1.03 per share.

Other investing ideas

The run-up in Take-Two could fall victim to “selling on fact.” This means investors could sell the shares after Grand Theft Auto is released. And there are few alternative gaming stocks available at a discount. Electronic Arts ( EA ) is up more than 100% over a 1 year period. Activision Blizzard ( ATVI ) is up nearly 50%.

Click on the image below to see analyst ratings over time. Sourced from Zacks Investment Research. 

Dig Deeper:  Compare analyst ratings to annual returns  for stocks mentioned.


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