Catching Fire: Lions Gate at all-time highMay 31, 2013: 11:59 AM ET
The movie business is notoriously tough ... unless you're making can't miss films based on blockbuster books that are adored by teenage girls.
Lions Gate (LGF), which produced five "Twilight" movies and is also the studio behind "The Hunger Games," reported sales and earnings Thursday that were much better than expected. The stock surged 8% Friday to an all-time high.
This could be just the beginning of a strong run for the company. Even though "Twilight" is now in the rear view mirror, Lions Gate still has three more Hunger Games movies due out, starting with "Catching Fire" this November.
The first movie was a huge hit, grossing more than $400 million in the U.S. according to movie industry site Box Office Mojo. It seems likely that the second one could do even better, especially since Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence is now arguably the hottest female star in Hollywood.
Traders on StockTwits have been giving Lions Gate a big thumbs up (RIP Roger Ebert) as well.
I never read the "Twilight" books or saw any of the movies. But I did read "The Hunger Games" trilogy. Looking forward to the adaptations of "Catching Fire" and the two films that will be made from "Mockingjay." I'm extremely curious to see how the increasingly violent nature of those books are portrayed on screen though. There are some scenes that are not for the faint of heart ... or younger kids. Not sure that will have a negative impact on the box office though.
One trader noted that Lions Gate is yet another example of a stock that short sellers have targeted ... and has been squeezed higher this year by good results. Tesla (TSLA), Netflix (NFLX) and Sodastream (SODA) all fit that bill too.
Indeed. For some Lions Gate shorts, the stock's rise is the financial equivalent of getting blown to smithereens by one of the numerous traps in the arena from "The Hunger Games." Short covering may be helping to push the stock even higher Friday. One trader was hoping the stock would finish above a nice, round number.
The stock was around $30.18 in late morning trading. So it's got a shot. But at least one trader was bummed about selling shares too soon.
Take heart, TopGun! (I'm humming some Kenny Loggins right now.) You still made out far better than Carl Icahn! The legendary agitator had been feuding with Lions Gate a few years ago. Icahn had waged a more than a two-year-long battle with Lions Gate for control of the company. Icahn finally gave up in August 2011 and agreed to sell his 11 million shares ... for just $7 a share. Oops!
Speaking of cashing in at a bad time, anyone who followed the silly Wall Street motto of selling in May and going away should be kicking themselves. This turned out to be a fantastic month for stocks as this amazing bull run continues.
But that hasn't stopped some jokesters (including yours truly ... I suggest sell in June and jump in a lagoon) from trying to find a new market catchphrase for the sixth month of the year.
My favorite comes from the inimitable Josh Brown. It wins my Reader Comment of the Week for its sheer randomness.
Sell in June, Warren Moon—
Downtown Josh Brown (@ReformedBroker) May 31, 2013
Hilarious. For a fun trip down memory lane, check out Moon and the rest of the Houston Oilers in all their powder blue glory. Ernest Givins!