While U.S. physical retail video game sales have been slumping for some time (as shown by NPD's data), SuperData estimates U.S. digital gaming revenue rose 9% Y/Y in March to $936M.
Revenue for subscription titles such as Activision (ATVI +1.2%) cash cow World of Warcraft fell Y/Y, but download and free-to-play revenue rose. Electronic Arts' (EA -0.1%) much-hyped Titanfall delivered the most digital revenue among "boxed" titles.
SuperData estimates conversion rates (i.e. the ratio of paying users to total users) for social gaming platforms rose to 2.3% from 1.9% six months earlier. But Zynga (ZNGA +4.4%), which had a Q4 conversion rate of 1.7% and only averages $0.13 per DAU (less than its closest rivals), continues to trail.
In spite of widespread concerns about slumping Candy Crush Saga (KING -1.3%) usage, SuperData thinks the game is holding up reasonably well for now. It estimates spending rose 1.2% M/M (3 extra days helped), with mobile MAUs rising 0.3% and social (read: Facebook) MAUs falling 2.1%.
"We're obviously in the throes of what feels like a correction for the small-cap and growth-equity companies," says Revolution Ventures managing partner David Golden.
Following a Q1 that saw the highest level of U.S. VC investment since 2001 ($10.7B, up from $9.1B in Q4 and $7.5B a year earlier ), as well as a handful of late-stage deals featuring eye-popping valuations (Airbnb, Dropbox), a rapid selloff in high-beta tech stocks is yielding a sense of caution.
Accel Partners' Jim Breyer (an early Facebook investor): "Not a board meeting goes by when at least half the meeting isn't spent on financial strategy." Venrock's Nick Beim: "We all feel like we're at the top of the cycle, and everyone's skating on new ice ... Just how thin the ice is not yet clear."
GSV Capital's (GSVC) Michael Moe, whose firm often takes positions in late-stage startups, likes what he sees. "I think prices will get more favorable for buyers because it will be more difficult to do megadeals at megavaluations." The Firsthand Tech Value Fund (SVVC) might also get more favorable terms.
Today's tech IPOs - Weibo and Leju - each delivered solid gains, but only did so after pricing their offerings at the low end of their respective ranges.
Duke Energy (DUK) says it incurred ~$15M in costs related to February's coal ash spill in North Carolina, and warns it is not yet able to estimate further costs.
DUK says other costs to remediate the spill into the Dan River - possibly including regulatory directives, pending litigation and long-term environmental impact costs - "aren't expected to be material to the company."
Citing telecom industry sources, Globes reports Cellcom (CEL) plans to launch an Israeli pay-TV service in four months. Ahead of the launch, the mobile carrier has expanded an internal trial, and reportedly ordered new HD set-tops.
Globes cautions Cellcom continues to insist it won't launch a TV service unless it can obtain lower infrastructure prices from local telecom giant Bezeq (BZQIF). Bezeq, which competes against both Cellcom and Partner Communications (PTNR), will soon be able to offer bundled telecom service plans.
The report follows a December quarter in which Cellcom's service revenue fell 13% Y/Y, and its EBITDA 24%, due to intense mobile price competition.
After underperforming yesterday in response to a mixture of in-line and soft outlooks from Intel, ASML, and Linear, chip stocks bounced back strongly following more encouraging numbers from foundry giant TSMC, NAND flash giant SanDisk, and well-diversified Cypress.
TSMC, seen as a bellwether for chip demand due to a client list that includes most of the world's top fabless chipmakers (Qualcomm, Broadcom, MediaTek, Xilinx, etc.), beat Q1 estimates, issued strong Q2 guidance, and reported seeing healthy sales from mobile clients, and for its advanced 28nm process node.
Profits at GE's industrial business rose 12% Y/Y, with its jet engine and oil and gas businesses delivering strong results, but profit at its energy management business plunged 67% and could see some of its weaker operations sold off, even as it brings in Mark Begor - whom Immelt called a "turnaround guy" for his work running GE Capital's real estate business - to run the operation.
S&P Capital IQ reiterated its Buy rating on the stock and raises its target price by $2 to $32, believing that GE's industrial, infrastructure and financial performance will benefit from an expanding U.S. and global economy.
Stillwater Mining (SWC) reports Q1 production of palladium and platinum from the company's Montana mine operations totaled 130.7K oz., a 2.8% increase Y/Y.
East Boulder Mine production rose 18.8%, driven by slightly higher realized ore grades and higher tons mined; Stillwater Mine output fell 3%, reflecting lower ore tons mined and increased allocation of resources to development activities.