Traders Buying Activision Blizzard Options

By Dmitriy Gurkovskiy, Chief Analyst at RoboMarkets

With the S&P 500 having recovered most of its Christmas losses, there are still stocks that have not even started to move away from their lows. Today we are going to analyze one of those.

Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) is a US based company that produces and sells game consoles, PC and mobile gaming content. Headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, ATVI is one of the largest gaming and entertainment companies in the world. It was founded in 2008 after the Vivendi Games and Activision merger, and currently owns such brands as Call of Duty, Quake, and World of Warcraft, among others.

In the last 6 months of 2018 ATVI experienced its most negative period in history, having lost around 50%.

Fundamentally, this was sudden, as all quarterly reports exceeded expectations.

The chart shows revenue went down in early 2018, but this is okay given the seasonal factor, and Q4 is sure to yield nice profits to ATVI.

With the reports being so good, then, what made the stock plunge so much? First, the market went down overall, but there were some other reasons, too. One of them is the lower expectations on Q4 2018 earnings. They were first forecast at $3.06B, but in November, the company lowered them down to $3.04. Another reason was the news of fewer users in Q3.

Then, four top managers got fired, including the CEO and president, as they were unable to create a new game during 2018; this was followed by Michael Morhaime, the former Blizzard CEO, leaving the company. He stopped being president in October and became an adviser, but he will definitely have left by April 2019.

Done with firing? Not really. In February, someone let slip the company is getting ready for a massive job cut, firing over 100 employees, in order to reduce costs.

Breaking off with Bungie added fuel to the fire, with the stock plunging by 7%. Activision Blizzard and Bungie worked together on Destiny, but this did not prove fruitful. In November, Activision Blizzard provided Destiny 2 for free just to ramp up the number of users, which means the sales were not very good. At Bungie, however, people reacted positively, as they were very happy to get rid of the strict Activision Blizzard schedule.

For ATVI, however, this not only caused the stock to plunge, it may have also led to trials initiated by investors. A few companies are already considering legal action because of the loss of potential profits. All these negative reasons are still keeping the stock near its lows. The reasons are already priced in the market, though, as the news on legal actions were known in January, while the firing campaign may be good for the company.

In December, we mentioned General Motors (NYSE: GM), where the management decided to cut jobs, and the stock went finally up, forming an uptrend.

Once Activision Blizzard is able to reduce costs, this may happen to this company as well. The market is expecting a positive Q4 report, which may change investor sentiment, which is now negative.

The P/E is currently at 17.54, with the average being 18.91, which means the stock does have some potential.

With such a large stock fall, the short float is quite low, 2.23%, meaning there are few people who want to capitalize on the fall.

Another important factor that may signal a rise is the news on buying 16,000 call options at $46, with the expiry on Feb 15. Traders have to pay a premium in order to buy options, and the price must rise above the strike ($46 in this case) for them to get profits; this means the price is very much expected to rise above $46 by Friday.

Technically, there is a descending trend, with the price being below the 200-day SMA. Once the price approaches $45, however, the volumes go up, which shows the traders’ interest.

A good report may well push the stock above $50, but the price should stay there for a while before one could start taking midterm longs. The target may be at around $65 or $70.

Those who bought calls hoped for a good report, but the options will expire in a couple of days (or sooner), and this support will come to an end. In order to understand whether one should continue holding longs on ATVI, one should monitor the number of new users and management speeches. The rising number of users may change the current negative trend, and, in this case, even the legal actions won’t be a big deal.


Any predictions contained herein are based on the authors’ particular opinion. This analysis shall not be treated as trading advice. RoboMarkets shall not be held liable for the results of the trades arising from relying upon trading recommendations and reviews contained herein.

Having majored in both Social Psychology and Economics, I went on to continue my education in post graduate. Later I worked as a team lead of a tech and fundamental analysis lab in the Applied System Analysis Research Institute. This helped me to acquire all necessary skills and experience to become a successful trader and analyst, as well as a portfolio manager in an investment company. I'm a pro in the financial field and the author of articles for various international media. I also hold the position of Chief Analyst at RoboMarkets.