Shares of Perfect World
Investors in the mercurial online gaming market in China shouldn't panic. In fact, it's almost comforting to see Perfect World and Shanda falter in entirely different ways.
Shanda Interactive's revenue grew 49% in the fourth quarter, fueled once again by its publicly traded Shanda Games appendage. Margins contracted on the way to the bottom line, but Shanda Interactive's $0.88-a-share showing topped Wall Street's target of $0.84 a share.
Both Shanda stocks took a hit, after Shanda Games projected a double-digit sequential decline in net revenue for the current quarter. Analysts had expected a sequential uptick.
Perfect World, on the other hand, has no problem with its near-term goggles. Its guidance for the current quarter calls for a sequential advance -- and a 46% to 51% year-over-year leap -- on the top line. Mr. Market is parked at the outlook's low end. Perfect World's tumble owed to fourth-quarter profits that fell short of Wall Street estimates. The company had blown analysts away in each of the year's first three quarters.
In other words, there's good news amid the rubble. The sector isn't falling apart at the seams. The companies are learning to march to their own beats. One developer's weakness doesn't have to be contagious. One studio's strength can be its own.
Shareholders suffering after Monday's plunge may not welcome that sort of nuance, but it's as good a sign as any that the online gaming industry in China is evolving. In the long run, that's a good thing for investors who can tell the difference.
What is your favorite Chinese gaming stock? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
NetEase.com, Perfect World, and Shanda Interactive are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a write puts position on Perfect World. 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 gaming stocks for a long time. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.