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Sector Snap: Video games publishers advance

Shares of most video game companies inched higher Wednesday ahead of market researcher NPD Group's monthly retail sales report, scheduled for Thursday. Electronic Arts Inc. shares gained $1.48, or 3.4 percent, to $45.69 in early afternoon trading. The stock has traded between $41.17 and $61.62 in the past 52 weeks.

The company said late Tuesday its "Madden NFL 09" game pulled in $133.5 million in retail revenue August, up 6 percent over last year's game. The latest installment of the popular football franchise launched Aug. 12.

"We believe 'Madden' growth partially removes risk from 2Q," wrote Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Shawn Milne in a note to investors. But he added that the "key to driving faster growth and operating leverage" remains new intellectual property - such as the upcoming games "Dead Space" and "Mirror's Edge."

Shares of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., which has signed a nondisclosure agreement with EA over a potential buyout, slid 12 cents to $21.65.

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