GameStop Stock Is Tumbling
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GameStop Stock Is Tumbling

Because its earnings report mattered after all.

By Connor Smith
Thu, Mar 25, 2021 4:42pmGrey Clock 3 min

GameStop stock was falling fast on Wednesday after the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter results disappointed analysts. There’s also another elephant in the room: The company is considering selling more stock, which could dilute its shares.

GameStop stock (ticker: GME) closed down 33.8%, at $120.34. The S&P 500 index fell 0.6%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended flat.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, GameStop said it has been evaluating whether or not to increase the size of its previously announced $100 million at-the-market stock-sale program. The company had announced the ATM program in December, with Jefferies acting as the sales agent. The company said it didn’t sell stock as its valuation surged.

GameStop stock received a mix of downgrades, price target cuts, and raises from analysts following the report. “Many on Wall Street have wondered why GameStop has not done an ATM transaction to take advantage of the elevated share price,” Telsey Advisory Group analyst Joseph Feldman wrote. “The answer may be that its balance sheet is in great shape, with cash and cash equivalents of $635MM (incl. restricted cash of $110MM) and debt of $363MM at the end of 2020. The new commentary seems to be a signal that an ATM transaction could be on the way.”

Heading into Tuesday, Feldman had the highest price target listed by FactSet. He lowered his to $30 from $33, calling the event “anti-climactic.” On the flip side, Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink raised her target by 1,066% to $175. That’s the new Street-high, in case there was any doubt.

Wissink argued the moves by Chewy co-founder and GameStop board member Ryan Cohen to transform the company into more of a technology firm warrant a completely different valuation method. The company’s earnings release was paired with another trio of hires with e-commerce backgrounds, including Amazon alum Jenna Owens as its next chief operating officer.

Wissink wrote that she moved from basing her target on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or Ebitda, to a sales multiple that factors in a shift to e-commerce.

She also makes the point that GameStop has the potential to participate in the rise of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, and the hosting of shoppable content streams.

“As a result, we expect store closures to persist & sales to transfer to dot com,” Wissink wrote. “Total revs may come down, but value per dollar of sales should increase if non-retail streams are realized.”

S&P Global Ratings analysts Mathew Christy and Andy Sookram wrote in a note on Wednesday that they believe the turnaround will involve sizable execution risks and possibly a material increase in its capital investment.”The recent increase and volatility in GameStop’s share price have not affected our fundamental view of its business or the risks the company faces,” they wrote. “However, we note the potential financial flexibility afforded by its improved equity market standing if it chose to raise additional capital to reposition its business or reduce its debt.”

BofA Global Research analyst Curtis Nagle maintained his $10 price objective and Underperform rating. He notes that while GameStop’s adjusted earnings per share of $1.34 beat his estimate for $1.22, he notes that the beat was driven by a large tax credit during the quarter. The company’s Ebitda came in short of his expectations by 66%.

“We continue to be very sceptical on GME’s efforts to address its long standing issue of digital disintermediation and the fact that its core market in new and pre-owned physical console gaming is shrinking at a rapid pace,” Nagle added. “GME also called out leveraging its existing digital assets like its PowerUp rewards program but this has seen declining engagement for years.”

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter lowered his rating on GameStop to Underperform from Hold, but raised his price target to $29 from $16. While he still thinks GameStop is well-positioned to benefit from the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft, he says the short squeeze has spiked the stock to “levels that are completely disconnected from the fundamentals of the business.”

“Our downgrade isn’t a reflection of our opinion of company management, which remains very high; rather, it appears that the ‘real’ value of GameStop shares (the price willing buyers are prepared to pay in the open market) vastly exceeds the ‘fundamental’ value we believe investors expecting a financial return can reasonably expect,” he wrote.

 

Reprinted by permission of Barron’s. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: March 24, 2021



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Global economic growth is becoming more broad based, with surveys indicating that business activity in both the U.S. and the eurozone gained momentum in May.

The eurozone economy contracted in the second half of 2023 following a surge in energy and food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent rise in interest rates intended to tame that inflation.

By contrast, the U.S. economy expanded strongly over the same period, opening up an unusually wide growth gap with the eurozone. That gap narrowed as the eurozone returned to growth in the first three months of the year, while the U.S. slowed.

However, surveys released Thursday point to a fresh acceleration in the U.S., even as growth in the eurozone strengthened. That bodes well for a global economy that relied heavily on the U.S. for its dynamism in 2023.

The S&P Global Flash U.S. Composite PMI —which gauges activity in the manufacturing and services sectors—rose to 54.4 in May from 51.3 in April, marking a 25-month high and the first time since the beginning of the year that the index hasn’t slowed. A level over 50 indicates expansion in private-sector activity.

“The data put the U.S. economy back on course for another solid gross domestic product gain in the second quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Eurozone business activity in turn increased for the third straight month in May, and at the fastest pace in a year, the surveys suggest. The currency area’s joint composite PMI rose to 52.3 from 51.7.

The uptick was led by powerhouse economy Germany, where continued strength in services and improvement in industry drove activity to its highest level in a year. That helped the manufacturing sector in the bloc as a whole grow closer to recovery, reaching a 15-month peak.

By contrast, surveys of purchasing managers pointed to a slowdown in the U.K. economy following a stronger-than-expected start to the year that saw it outpace the U.S. The survey was released a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise election for early July, banking on signs of an improved economic outlook to turn around a large deficit in the opinion polls.

Similar surveys pointed to a further acceleration in India’s rapidly-expanding economy, and to a rebound in Japan, where the economy contracted in the first three months of the year. In Australia, the surveys pointed to a slight slowdown in growth during May.

Businesses reported that they were raising their prices at the slowest pace since November, which should reassure the European Central Bank. However, the eurozone continued to add jobs in May, suggesting that wages might not cool as rapidly as the ECB had hoped.

The ECB released figures Thursday that showed wages negotiated by labor unions in the eurozone were 4.7% higher in the first quarter than a year earlier, a faster increase than the 4.5% recorded in the final three months of 2023

The ECB has signalled it will lower its key interest rate in early June, while the Fed is waiting for evidence that a slowdown in inflation will resume after setbacks this year.

Nevertheless, eurozone businesses and households shouldn’t bank on successive cuts to borrowing costs, ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said. “There is a huge degree of uncertainty,” he said. “We have made no decisions on the number of interest rate cuts or on their size,” he said in an interview published Thursday. “We will see how economic data evolve.”

Continued resilience in the eurozone economy would likely make the ECB more cautious about lowering borrowing costs after its first move, economist Franziska Palmas at Capital Economics wrote in a note. “If the economy continues to hold up well, cuts further ahead may be slower than we had anticipated,” she said.

– Edward Frankl contributed to this story.

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