Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) are both large-cap computer and technology companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, risk, institutional ownership, valuation, dividends, earnings and analyst recommendations.

Profitability

This table compares Symantec and Activision Blizzard’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Symantec 2.43% 14.94% 5.33%
Activision Blizzard 23.66% 13.91% 9.23%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Symantec and Activision Blizzard, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Symantec 0 10 3 0 2.23
Activision Blizzard 1 4 21 1 2.81

Symantec presently has a consensus price target of $23.20, indicating a potential downside of 15.42%. Activision Blizzard has a consensus price target of $61.83, indicating a potential upside of 3.00%. Given Activision Blizzard’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Activision Blizzard is more favorable than Symantec.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Symantec and Activision Blizzard’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Symantec $4.73 billion 3.58 $31.00 million $1.17 23.44
Activision Blizzard $7.50 billion 6.15 $1.81 billion $2.39 25.12

Activision Blizzard has higher revenue and earnings than Symantec. Symantec is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Activision Blizzard, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Symantec pays an annual dividend of $0.30 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.1%. Activision Blizzard pays an annual dividend of $0.37 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.6%. Symantec pays out 25.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Activision Blizzard pays out 15.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Activision Blizzard has increased its dividend for 9 consecutive years.

Volatility & Risk

Symantec has a beta of 1.28, meaning that its stock price is 28% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Activision Blizzard has a beta of 0.83, meaning that its stock price is 17% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

90.3% of Symantec shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 88.6% of Activision Blizzard shares are held by institutional investors. 1.9% of Symantec shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.3% of Activision Blizzard shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

Activision Blizzard beats Symantec on 13 of the 18 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Symantec

Symantec Corporation provides cybersecurity products, services, and solutions worldwide. The company operates through two segments, Enterprise Security and Consumer Digital Safety. The Enterprise Security segment provides endpoint and information protection products, including endpoint security, advanced threat protection, and information protection solutions and their related support services; and network and Web security products, such as network security, Web security, and cloud security solutions and their related support services. It also offers consulting, premium support, and cyber security services. The Consumer Digital Safety segment provides Norton Security solutions as a subscription service providing protection for devices against malware, viruses, adware, and ransomware on various platforms; and LifeLock identity theft protection solution that provides identity monitoring, alerts, and restoration to its customers, as well as Norton Wi-Fi Privacy services. The company serves business, government, and public-sector customers; small, medium, and large enterprises; and individuals, households, and small businesses. It markets and sells its products and related services through direct sales force, direct marketing and co-marketing programs, e-commerce and telesales platforms, distributors, Internet-based resellers, system builders, Internet service providers, employee benefits providers, wireless carriers, retailers, original equipment manufacturers, and retail and online stores. Symantec Corporation has strategic alliance with Ernst & Young LLP to help organizations address intellectual property and data, as well as manage cyber risk. The company was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in Mountain View, California.

About Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard, Inc. develops and distributes content and services on video game consoles, personal computers (PC), and mobile devices. The company operates through three segments: Activision Publishing, Inc.; Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.; and King Digital Entertainment. It develops, publishes, and sells interactive software products and entertainment content for the console and PC platforms through retail and digital channels, including subscription, full-game, and in-game sales, as well as by licensing software to third-party or related-party companies; and offers downloadable content. The company also maintains a proprietary online gaming service, Battle.net that facilitates the creation of user generated content, digital distribution, and online social connectivity in its games; and develops and publishes interactive entertainment content and services primarily on mobile platforms, such as Android and iOS, as well as distributes its content and services on the PC platform primarily through Facebook. In addition, it engages in creating original film and television content; and provides warehousing, logistics, and sales distribution services to third-party publishers of interactive entertainment software, as well as manufacturers of interactive entertainment hardware products. The company's products include various genres, including first-person shooter, action/adventure, role-playing, strategy, and others. It serves retailers and distributors, including mass-market retailers, first party digital storefronts, consumer electronics stores, discount warehouses, and game specialty stores through third-party distribution and licensing arrangements in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. The company was incorporated in 1979 and is headquartered in Santa Monica, California.

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