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Activision Blizzard shares up as Santa Monica company to debut on S&P 500

Activision Blizzard shares up as Santa Monica company to debut on S&P 500
In celebrating his company's debut on the S&P 500 index, Activision Blizzard Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said the company is well-positioned for growth. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Video game publisher and developer Activision Blizzard Inc. climbed 5.4% during early trading on Wall Street on Friday ahead of its debut in the S&P 500.
After the closing bell, the Santa Monica-based company will join Electronic Arts to become the second gaming company on the benchmark index, a sampling of U.S. industry that serves as a bellwether for the national economy.

An S&P Dow Jones Indices committee replaced water-filter maker Pall Corp. on the index with Activision. Pall is being acquired.

The company behind “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” saw a bump of more than 6.5% in after-hours trading Thursday as investment funds that match their holdings to the S&P 500 list bought Activision shares in preparation for the switch.

Activision closed Thursday with a market cap of more than $20 billion. Within the first 20 minutes of trading Friday, shares shot up to $29.44, up $1.51.
Activision’s newer games “Hearthstone” and “Heroes of the Storm” also have done well, and it’s been among the few foreign game-makers succeeding in China. This month, the company raised its full-year forecast for revenue minus certain expenses to $4.6 billion, from $4.4 billion. Analysts have been optimistic about Activision and other game companies because the trend toward online gaming from CDs and DVDs is expanding profit margins.
“We believe we are well-positioned for long-term growth, and we look forward to continuing to deliver value to our audiences and investors,” Activision Blizzard Chief Executive Bobby Kotick said in a statement Thursday night.
Other Los Angeles County companies on the S&P 500 include Walt Disney Co., Mattel Inc., and Santa Monica-based shopping mall owner Macerich.

Chat with me on Twitter @peard33

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