Activision's Earnings Mix-Up Sends Gaming Shares on Wild Ride

(Bloomberg) -- For investors in Activision Blizzard Inc. and its video game competitors, it was an eventful Thursday afternoon.

Just after 1 p.m., Activision shares sharply spiked to session highs, setting off alarm bells for traders who were expecting the company’s earnings report after the market closed. Some headlines containing financial information, potentially from prior quarters, were published in error by News Corp.’s Dow Jones News Service.

As the market digested the mix-up, the stock tumbled as much as 6.3 percent, dragging competitors Electronic Arts Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. along with them. Activision shares were eventually halted at 2:14 p.m. -- but the confusion didn’t end there. Dow Jones issued a correction less than 20 minutes later, and shares of Take-Two and Electronic Arts surged to session highs.

At 3:03 p.m., Activision put an end to the mystery, releasing its earnings report in full. It was a beat for the first quarter, although its second-quarter forecast trailed estimates.

Dow Jones also issued a statement: "We regret our error as well as inadvertently breaking the embargo. We have issued a correction and are reviewing our processes." Activision shares resumed trading at 3:30 p.m., initially erasing losses before closing lower by 2.3 percent.

Bloomberg News competes with Dow Jones in publishing financial news.

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