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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Activision Blizzard, Microsoft and Take Two Interactive

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – September 26, 2016 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI - Free Report) , Microsoft Corp (MSFT - Free Report) and Take Two Interactive ( (TTWO - Free Report) .

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Videogame Stock Roundup

Among the top stories this week, Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI - Free Report) launched the highly anticipated title Destiny: Rise of Iron. The maker of Xbox One, Microsoft Corp (MSFT - Free Report) announced that by current year-end, it is aiming to buy back $40 billion worth of shares.

A Recap of the Developments

1. Video game publishing giant, Activision Blizzard has released one of the most anticipated titles of the year, Destiny: Rise of Iron for PS4 and Xbox One . Prized at $29.99, Rise of Iron has seen blockbuster response in terms of pre-orders and Activision has called it the “most anticipated expansion for Destiny ever.” Also, Destiny fans will be treated with Destiny The Collection. Prized at $59.99,The Collection, as the name suggests, is a compilation of all releases of the shooter franchise so far. The combination of Rise of Iron and The Collection has made the release so important. Destiny has been developed by Bungie of Halo fame and published by Activision. First released on Sep 9, 2014, it is a first person shooter game set in a mythical-cum-science fiction world. It is the first title to be released under Activision-Bungie’s 10-year deal. In fact, Destiny holds the record for the being the biggest new franchise launch. Destiny earned over $500 million in just a day of its release. The franchise has an aggregate score of 75/100 on Metacritic while Game Informer has given it 8.75 out of 10. Activision carries a Zacks Rank#2 (Buy).

2. Microsoft will be buying $40 billion worth of shares or 9% of its total market cap by 2016. The Xbox One creator also raised its dividend by 8%. Microsoft has been one of the most active companies in terms of share repurchases. Reportedly, the company has shelled out $140 billion on its buyback programs so far. In 2013, Microsoft had commenced a stock repurchase program, that was also worth the same amount as the current repurchase target. Microsoft carries a Zacks Rank#3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

3. Take Two Interactive (TTWO - Free Report) has released NBA 2K17 for PS 3&4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows PC, carrying a price tag of $59.99. Take Two also released NBA 2K17 Kobe Bryant Legend Edition for $79.99, for both digital and physical version, on Xbox One and PS4. The NBA series is one of the biggest revenue generators for the company. NBA2K16, reportedly, has sold over 8 million copies. At its last earnings call, Take Two said that virtual currency revenues from NBA 2K were the second biggest contributor to bookings from recurrent consumer spending after its super successful Grand Auto Theft Online. For the current fiscal, management expects bookings in the range of $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion with primary contributors being NBA 2K16, NBA 2K17, Grand Theft Auto V, Grand Theft Auto Online and Mafia III. Mafia III is another highly anticipated title, scheduled for release in October.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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