‘Hunger Games’ Helps Keep Lionsgate Stock Hot

Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence

Stock has tripled in value since Summit deal

Lionsgate stock has stayed hot, continuing to ride a wave of bullishness over “The Hunger Games” and its other franchises.

The stock closed Monday above $26 for the first time, rising 23¢, to $26.15. That’s more than three times its price when Lionsgate acquired Summit for $412.5 million in January, 2012.

Lionsgate has gained over 60% this year on optimism over its young-adult franchises — including the next three “Hunger Games” films, “Ender’s Game” and “Divergent” — and better than expected quarterly results.

The recent run-up stems from a quartet of recent price target hikes with Alan Gould of Evercore going from $24 to $30; Alexia Quadrani of JP Morgan from $22 to $26; Matthew Harrigan of Wunderlich from $23 to $28; and James Marsh of Piper Jaffray from $25 to $27. Gould noted that “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” with Jennifer Lawrence reprising her role as Katniss Everdeen, has been forecast to gross $373 million in its first four weeks.

Additionally, Joe Bonner of Argus recently launched coverage with a “buy” rating and a price target of $31.

“Ender’s Game” debuts Nov. 1 and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opens three weeks later on Nov. 22. “Divergent,” starring Shailene Woodley, opens March 21.

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