Why Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. Shares Could Pop 15%

While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a closer look at particularly stock-shaking upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.

What: Shares of Take-Two Interactive Software  (NASDAQ: TTWO  ) gained about 2% in pre-market trading Thursday after Benchmark upgraded the video game publisher from hold to buy.

So what: Along with the upgrade, analyst Mike Hickey planted a price target of $25.31 on the stock, representing about 15% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while contrarian traders might be turned off by Take-Two's price strength over the past year, Hickey's call could reflect a sense on Wall Street that the company's upcoming game releases give the stock plenty of room to run.

Now what: According to Benchmark, Take-Two is a particularly timely opportunity. "We view the Company's near term share price risk / reward profile balancing positive (raised from neutral); with potential near term performance upside from a compelling game slate that has now materialized over seemingly conservative guidance, offset somewhat by potential operating expense growth, execution risk and market risk related to the ongoing console transition (prior-gen weakness)," said Hickey. When you couple that upbeat outlook with Take-Two's still-reasonable forward P/E of 15, it's tough to disagree with Benchmark's bullishness.

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