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Disney Just Hit An All-Time High And This Analyst 'Can't Help But Like' The House Of Mouse

Disney Just Hit An All-Time High And This Analyst 'Can't Help But Like' The House Of Mouse
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Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) shares rose sharply Wednesday after its first-quarter earnings came in 23 percent higher than Wall Street expected.

The entertainment company hit a 52-week high earlier Wednesday of $101.22, trading recently at $100.56, up more than 6 percent.

Despite negative investor sentiment toward traditional media, "we can't help but like this stock," Wells Fargo's Marci Ryvicker said.

Analysts in general appear split on Disney, with 14 rating it at Buy, 14 at Hold and two at Overweight, according to FactSet.

Ryvicker, who maintained an Outperform rating on the company, increased her estimate of 2015 earnings 6 percent to $4.93 a share.

Analysts, on average, expect 2015 earnings of $4.66 a share, up from $0.89 reported by the company for the year ended September 15, 2014.

In the recent period, operating income from media networks grew 3 percent to $1.5 billion; by 20 percent at parks and resorts to $805 million and by 46 percent in consumer products to $646 million.

The company's studio segment's operating profit increased by a third to $544 million.

Related Link: Why Disney's Apple-Google Deal Isn't A Big Deal

Results from each segment exceeded expectations, according to Ryvicker, who called the 18 percent increase in first-quarter advertising revenue for ESPN a "big surprise."

But programming costs for Disney cable operations will rise 25 percent in 2015, Ryvicker noted, who expects virtually all of that increase during the year's first half.

Theme parks had a "great quarter," with attendance rising 7 percent according to Ryvicker, although the company delayed the opening date of its Shanghai park, now under construction to Spring 2016.

Chief Executive Robert A. Igler touted recent success with the ESPN unit's launch of the first-ever College Football Playoff.

Igler also plugged upcoming films that include "Tomorrowland," starring George Clooney, an "Avengers" sequel, as well as "Star Wars, The Force Awakens," slated for December.

Latest Ratings for DIS

Oct 2017BarclaysMaintainsEqual-Weight
Oct 2017GuggenheimDowngradesBuyNeutral
Oct 2017RBC CapitalUpgradesOutperformTop Pick

View More Analyst Ratings for DIS
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: ESPN Frozen Marci Ryvicker Wells FargoAnalyst Color Reiteration Intraday Update Analyst Ratings Best of Benzinga


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