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Electronic Arts (EA) Q2 Earnings: Is a Beat in the Cards?

Electronic Arts Inc. EA is scheduled to report fiscal second-quarter 2018 results on Oct. 31after the closing bell.

One of the leading names in the video game industry, Electronic Arts continues to benefit from its popular franchises as well as the shift to digital. Additionally, revenues from the live services component are fast emerging as a key growth driver.Ongoing cost-optimization initiatives are also expected to cushion the company’s top-line performance in the to-be-reported quarter.

Notably, the company has beaten the Zack Consensus Estimate in the trailing four quarters, delivering an average positive surprise of 27.34%.

Last quarter, the company reported earnings of 48 cents per share that easily beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 28 cents. Revenues (excluding deferred revenues) came in at $774 million. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was pegged at $765.9 million.

Notably, in the last one year, EA has generated a return of 45.8% compared with the industry’s gain of 32.6%.

Factors at Play

EA’s popularity is primarily driven by its well-known franchises, which will continue to fuel top-line growth. EA SPORTS titles, along with Battlefield, Titanfall and Star Wars are some of its biggest franchises.

In the second quarter, Electronic Arts released FIFA 18, NBA LIVE and NHL 18 (September) and Madden NFL18 (August). FIFA 18 was released on Sep 29, 2017 and therefore the quarter will include sales for the first two days only. FIFA remains one of the most popular titles among gamers. Moreover, both Madden NFL 18 and NHL 18 have seen success if we go by NPD data. Per the research firm, Madden finished third whereas NHL 18 finished eight on the list of top selling titles in September.

Apart from popular titles, it is the shift to digital that has proved to be a major growth driver for Electronic Arts. Compared with the physical platform, digital games are more profitable due to minimum packaging cost. This cost effectiveness will help publishers like EA to use the digital format to keep a popular franchise running profitably over a long period of time. Digital sales now contribute to the majority of revenues. In the first quarter, digital sales were nearly 60% and grew 28% year over year.

The live services component (includes revenues from extra content and subscriptions, advertising, and others) of EA games has emerged as a big growth driver. In the first quarter of fiscal 2018, sales from "live" services increased 29% to $501 million. We believe Ultimate Team and Battlefield 1along with EA sports titles will continue to boost revenues from live services in the about-to-be reported quarter.

What Our Model Says

According to the Zacks model, a company with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) has a good chance of beating estimates if it also has a positive Earnings ESP. The Sell-rated stocks (Zacks Rank #4 or #5) are best avoided.

EA has a Zacks Rank #2 and an Earnings ESP of +2.59% and that indicates a likely positive surprise. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Other Stocks to Consider

Here are some stocks that, as per our model, also have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Activision Blizzard ATVI with an Earnings ESP of +7.66% and a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Kemet Corporation KEM with an Earnings ESP of +7.46% and a Zacks Rank #1.

NVIDIA Corporation NVDA with an Earnings ESP of +0.53% and a Zacks Rank #1.

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Kemet Corporation (KEM): Free Stock Analysis Report
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