money digest


HDTV forecast lifts DirecTV

Shares of satellite TV operator DirecTV Group Inc. surged to a 52-week high Monday after Deutsche Bank analyst Doug Mitchelson boosted his rating to "buy" and price target from $20 to $30, saying the company is best positioned to take advantage of high-definition TV. DirecTV's probable sale to John Malone's Liberty Media — with a deal expected this week — will give it a more aggressive owner that is more likely to seek either a merger with rival EchoStar Communications or partnerships that will enable broadband services, the analyst said. Shares of DirecTV, controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., added 5% to $25.49.

Take-Two slips on restatements

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. shares dropped 2.2% on Monday to $19.66 after the company said that an internal probe found that some stock-option grants were incorrectly dated and that it will have to restate some financial results dating back to 1997. The improprieties were discovered during an investigation by a special committee of its board, and the probe did not find misconduct by the company's current executive officers, including CEO Paul Eibeler and chief financial officer Karl Winters.

Outlook better for global ads

Carat, Europe's biggest media-buying firm, has raised its forecast for growth in global spending on advertising in 2007 to 5.8% amid an improved outlook in Japan and the U.S. Carat, whose previous forecast for 2007 was for 5.5%, also raised its forecast for 2006 growth from 5.7% to 6%. "The most significant change to regional forecasts comes from Asia-Pacific," Carat said, adding it now expected 7.4% growth for the region in 2007, up from the 6.8% it forecast in June. U.S. growth is mainly being driven by the Internet, with online advertising growing by 20%, Carat said.