At no time in the past five years have Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) shareholders experienced such a prolonged correction. With EA stock down more than 30% over the past three months — against the Nasdaq’s 5% loss — it’s been challenging for investors to figure out where the bottom is.
InvestorPlace feature writer James Brumley knows what I’m talking about.
On September 4, he recommended that investors buy EA stock on the dip. By the end of September his prognostication was looking very prescient — and then the bottom fell out a second time.
“It’s not easy or comfortable stepping into any stock that appears to be in a freefall. And, unless an investor is committed to such a trade for the long haul, it may not be the right move,” Brumley wrote in early September. “In that Electronic Arts is one of the key leaders of a fast-growing industry though, and has proven it can broadly grow the top and bottom lines with a minimal degree of bumpiness, this pullback from EA stock is a buying opportunity despite the swell of pessimism.”
In fairness to him, James did preface his call by recommending that only those in for the long haul should make a move into EA stock.
In the 30-plus trading days since my colleague’s article appeared, EA stock has lost another seven bucks or 6.3%, suggesting now is the time investors should buy on the dip.
At the risk of repeating myself, let’s be clear: Electronic Arts hasn’t faced a prolonged correction like this latest one since 2008, a time that was bad for every type of stock.
EA plays in an industry that is experiencing tremendous growth — the global games market is expected to hit $180 billion by 2021 — a situation that every CEO would love to have.
Brumley did mention last month that investors weren’t happy about Electronic Arts’ Q1 2018 report which saw both revenues and earnings fall year-over-year accompanied by an underwhelming bookings outlook for the third quarter.
I get the disappointment, which wasn’t helped by the one-month delay of Battlefield V’s release, but a closer look at its Q2 results suggests, in my opinion, that investors overreacted.
The Straight Goods
As someone who doesn’t spend all day studying the ups and downs of video game companies, here’s my objective analysis of EA’s latest quarter.
Let’s start with the positives.
EA expects its net bookings to be $5.55 billion in fiscal 2019, 7.7% higher than it posted for the trailing 12 months ended June 30. So, they’re going in the right direction. Furthermore, its digital net bookings for those same trailing 12 months, were up 13% year over year to $3.55 billion or 69% of total net bookings.
That’s not a huge increase, but it’s positive, and that’s all that really matters.
Another plus, the company repurchased 2.3 million shares of EA stock during the second quarter at an average price of $130.43 a share. The midpoint between its high and low during April, May, and June, was $131.00. Anytime you can buy back your stock for less than the midpoint — by my calculations — a company is doing an adequate job repurchasing its shares.
Finally, EA expects its operating cash flow in fiscal 2019 to be $1.83 billion, 7.9% higher than a year earlier. Again, it’s not double-digit growth, but it is the highest in the company’s history.
Electronic Arts is growing its top and bottom line at a nice clip over a 12-month period, has $4.0 billion in net cash on its balance sheet, and margins that could choke a horse.
Bottom Line on EA Stock
It’s possible that EA stock hasn’t bottomed and will visit the $90s before the end of the year.
If that happens, it won’t be because of anything the company’s done, but because investors are losing their cool. That, you can’t control.
However, should there be a need for Buy on the Dip, Part III, I will be the one writing the article.
Electronic Arts is a buy at $105, and it’s a screaming buy at $95 and below.
As of this writing Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.