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Piper Jaffray Analyst Upgrades EA Stock

Shares of Electronic Arts were up on the Nasdaq stock exchange Monday, following the company being upgraded to "Outperform" from its previous status of "Market Perform" b...
Shares of Electronic Arts were up on the Nasdaq stock exchange Monday, following the company being upgraded to "Outperform" from its previous status of "Market Perform" by financial firm Piper Jaffray. The company was upgraded by Piper Jaffray analyst Anthony Gikas, who advised clients that a 20 percent decline in share price in 2006, coupled with an expected surge in the industry made EA a “good value for investors.” Gikas also lowered his target price for EA from $59 to $54. According to the Associated Press, Gikas commented in a research note that "industry growth during the next three years should be strong and earnings potential for leading publishers should be exceptional." However, Gikas also indicated that he has been disappointed in Electronic Arts' management execution in recent times, and has lowered his 2008 earnings projections to $1.45 per share from $1.60, due primarily to increased costs associated with research and development, something that was discussed in detail as part of EA's recent earnings call. In that call, EA commented that its R&D spending in its current console studios will increase by 5%-10%, but mobile R&D to increase significantly, and online by as much as 80%-90%, meaning that overall, R&D spending will increase more than previously expected - to 15%-20% for the year, sparking analyst dismay. Nonetheless, EA shares were up 39 cents to $42.91 in late trading, following the upgrade.

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