The share price of Marvel Entertainment Group Inc. rebounded yesterday from several days of sharp losses, after the company reaffirmed that it will hit Wall Street’s earnings estimates.The stock, which lost 6.7% Tuesday and 7.9% Wednesday, was up $ 2.50 (or more than 5%) yesterday and closed at $ 46. It rose as high as $ 46.75, with 411,000 shares traded, compared with an average daily volume of 133,600. Profit-taking takes toll Analysts say the recent price declines reflect widespread profit-taking that was spurred by what they see as an unjustified linking of the company’s Fleer trading card unit with Topps Co., a trading card company that recently reported disappointing third-quarter earnings. Marvel purchased Fleer last September. Topps said its earnings were weak because of shipping delays and soft conditions in the trading card market. As a result, investors “looked at Topps and said the same must be true for Fleer,” says Lauren Fine, an analyst at Merrill Lynch Global Securities. Given that perception and a generally “nervous” market, “there was a lot of profit-taking,” Fine says. She says that a large portion of Marvel shareholders have posted significant gains since buying the stock; “at the hint of anything wrong, people were getting out.” Lisbeth Barron, an analyst at S.G. Warburg Securities, agrees that following the Topps earnings report “that was a perception that anyone in the industry would suffer. But Fleer is far from suffering,” she says, due to its exposure to the higher-priced end of the card business. “It’s a different situation than Topps,” she says. “They are very different companies.” Barron says that Fleer, which accounts for 28% of Marvel’s earnings, “will probably have a record quarter” in terms of sales and earnings in the fourth quarter. Moreover, she expects Marvel’s 1993 growth rate will be about 30%. Nevertheless, she says, many investors likely were looking to “take profits before the end of the year.” As reported, Marvel reaffirmed analysts’ estimates of per-share earnings of $ 1.30 for this year and $ 2.15 for 1993.
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