'Breaking Dawn' boosts shares to $16.86 on Wall Street

Shares of Lionsgate have closed at an all-time high in the wake of strong box office for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2.”

Lionsgate gained 1.6% to $16.86 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. That eclipsed the previous high of $16.68 on Oct. 31 and Nov. 9 — and is nearly double the $8.60 price for the shares on Jan. 13, when Lionsgate bought Summit Entertainment for $412.5 million.

The final “Twilight” film has hit $600 million in worldwide grosses in less than two weeks. It is performing about 5% ahead of “Breaking Dawn – Part 1″ with $235 million at the domestic B.O. Its international grosses are far ahead of “Part 1″ at $365 million in its first 12 days. Top foreign markets are the U.K. at $43 million, Russia at $36 million, Brazil at $33 million and France at $28 million.

Several Wall Street analysts have raised their price targets on Lionsgate this month. Alan Gould of Evercore increased his target from $18 to $20, citing Lionsgate’s young-adult franchises, predictable earnings growth with lower P&A costs, the de-leveraging of the balance sheet from $1.1 billion this year to $230 million by March 2015 and the possibility of a small dividend. Other analysts have cited strong performances by “Anger Management” and “Nashville” on the TV side and growing returns from its library of film and TV titles as digital revenue augments sales of physical DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

Thanks largely to “Breaking Dawn — Part 2″ and “The Hunger Games,” Lionsgate has crossed the $1 billion mark this year at both the domestic and foreign box office.

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