UPDATE: They did it again. Lionsgate’s stock today hit an intra-day and 52-week high of $31.10 on the New York Stock Exchange. It closed at 30.92, up 0.63 or 2.08%. Lionsgate has been on a roll lately, surging in part to the successful Hunger Games and Twilight franchises. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment opened Wednesday with a solid $4.7M from only 876 dates, a surprisingly strong debut.
PREVIOUS, Tuesday PM July 2: It’s becoming boring to report when Lionsgate shares hit a new high. That’s been a recurring story since the beginning of 2013 as the company’s stock price has soared 82.5%, helped in part by successful franchises including The Hunger Games and Twilight. But at least we have an unusual reason for this week’s increase, which pushed the mini-major studio to an all-time high closing price of $29.90 with today’s 2.4% rise following a 6.2% jump yesterday. It isn’t just because the studio’s May 31 release, Now You See Me, is doing better than investors expected, having grossed $104.6M domestically as of the weekend. Lionsgate is benefiting this week from Friday’s re-balancing of the Russell Index, which takes place each year at the end of June. The Index identifies companies that have significantly increased their market value. Many portfolio managers use that information to decide what to do with their holdings, amplifying the results by buying shares of winners and unloading losers. The help from Russell comes as the Street continues to be optimistic about Lionsgate. Piper Jaffray just included the company in its list of top-pick stocks for Q3. The firm is impressed by the strength of the international distribution partners for upcoming films including Red 2, Ender’s Game, and Divergent. B. Riley’s David Miller also issued an upbeat report yesterday touting the studio’s upcoming opportunity to unload some of its high-yield debt.