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Why Electronic Arts Inc. Shares Skyrocketed Today

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Electronics Arts (NASDAQ: EA  ) jumped more than 19% Wednesday after the video game specialist released better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter 2014 results.

So what: Adjusted quarterly revenue fell 12% year over year, to $914 million, which translated to adjusted earnings of $0.48 per diluted share. For reference, Electronic Arts' own guidance had called for sales and earnings per share of $800 million and $0.09, respectively. Analysts were slightly more optimistic going into the report, expecting earnings of $0.11 per share on sales of $812.9 million.

For the current quarter, Electronic Arts sees adjusted net revenue of roughly $700 million, which should result in an adjusted loss of $0.05 per share. By contrast, analysts were modeling an adjusted loss of $0.24 per share on sales of $629.21 million.

For the full fiscal year 2015, EA expects adjusted revenue of approximately $4.1 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $1.85. Analysts, on average, were expecting lower fiscal 2015 earnings of $1.52 per share on roughly the same revenue.

Finally, EA also announced a new $750 million share repurchase authorization, which expires on May 31, 2016. The new program replaces the existing authorization approved by EA's board in July, 2012.

Now what: CFO Blake Jorgensen summed up the beat: "While navigating through a year of tremendous change in the industry, which included a challenging console transition, we were able to exceed revenue guidance, lower our operating expenses, double operating cash flows, and invest in new products and services for the future."

In the end, I certainly can't blame the market for bidding up shares of EA given its tremendous quarter and expected return to growth this fiscal year. Still, while shares are reasonably priced at around 18 times this year's expected earnings after the pop, they're not cheap enough to compel me to want to buy shares today. For now, I prefer to watch EA over the next couple quarters to get a better gauge on its long-term prospects.

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Steve Symington

Technology and consumer goods specialist for the Fool. Steve looks for responsible businesses which positively shape our lives. Then, he invests accordingly. Enjoy his work? Connect with him on Twitter & Facebook so you don't miss a thing.

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8/28/2015 3:59 PM
EA $67.91 Up +0.75 +0.00%
Electronic Arts CAPS Rating: ***