If you haven't forgotten about Giant Interactive
The Chinese Web-based gaming company behind the ZT Online franchise posted another disappointing quarterly report last night. Revenue of $47.4 million may have been a slight sequential uptick, but it's 12% behind where it was a year ago -- and also short of the $48.4 million that analysts were targeting.
Giant's profit of $0.12 a share matched expectations, but it also matched its unimpressive first-quarter performance. Either way, it was a noticeable decline on the bottom line from last year's showing.
What's shrinking this Giant? It's still able to draw a crowd, attracting an average of 670,000 concurrent players to its portfolio of games. It had nearly 1.7 million gamers on at the same time at one point during the quarter. These are metrics where Giant is well ahead of where it was a year ago, but work the math. Giant may be attracting more gamers, but the average player is spending 26% less.
Giant can argue that it's trying to grow its audience, as it introduces new games. Unfortunately, it stands alone in negative year-over-year comparisons.
NetEase's 46% leap stands out, primarily as a result of its role in reintroducing Activision Blizzard's
Who else stands out? Giant Interactive -- with its 12% step back.
Investors don't necessarily need to forget about Giant forever. The flawed leisure specialist is still rolling in IPO cash. It has $810.6 million -- or $3.46 a share -- in cash. That is more than half of its market cap. As long as Giant remains profitable, that's a solid floor beneath the stock and plenty of money to bankroll a comeback.
However, since the growing online gaming stocks are already trading at ridiculously low earnings multiples, there's no point in straying from the leaders.
You play to win the game.
Given the escalating political tension between China and the United States, is it still a good idea to invest in Chinese stocks? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.
NetEase.com, Perfect World, and Shanda Interactive Entertainment are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Activision Blizzard is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position on Activision Blizzard. The Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a fan of China's high-margin online stocks for a long time. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.