For many video gamers, Thursday was the mostly highly anticipated day of the year, as this season's most-wanted gift, the PlayStation2, was handed over the counter for the first time.
And it was a pretty exciting day for video-game maker
, which charted a wild ride of its own. Electronic Arts, the largest independent publisher of PlayStation2 titles in the U.S., dropped 10.7% in the morning, only to rise sharply in the afternoon, closing up nearly 11% for the day.
EA reported a loss of 27 cents a share for the fiscal second quarter after the market closed Thursday, beating the estimate of a loss of 30 cents a share from
First Call/Thomson Financial
. The company earned 14 cents a share a year ago. Electronic Arts closed up $5.06, or 10.96%, to $51.25 in regular trading.
"It was a knee-jerk reaction to the tempering of some numbers," said analyst Tony Gikas of
U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray
(the company has done no underwriting for EA). Gikas said he revised some numbers for EA's Internet business downward for the next two fiscal years. Investors rushed back to the stock after it hit bargain levels, he said.
There are still some concerns over the postholiday rollout of the game console, which had shipments halved because of component shortages and how the new console will affect ongoing sales of its predecessor, Gikas said.
, meanwhile, dropped more than 4% after announcing that profits dropped 57.4% for the second quarter. Weakness in music, movies and video games offset strong results from its electronics business.
The electronic hardware and entertainment conglomerate said Thursday it earned $184 million in the three months ended Sept. 30, down from $432 million the same quarter in the previous year. Sony closed down $4.31, or 4.5% at $90.75.
Among the reasons: A $26 million operating loss in the gaming division for the rollout of the PlayStation2.
"The PlayStation had nothing to do with it, everyone already knew all about it," said Jeffrey Pittsburg of
Goldis-Pittsburg Institutional Services
. He said the other issues in the report caused the stock to drop (his firm does no underwriting for Sony). There were weaknesses in movies and a tough currency market, Pittsburg said.