Disney (DIS) - Get Report has had a strong start to the 2017 calendar year at the box office, with hits like Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 already outperforming expectations. Though the company may be poised for success at the box office for the rest of the year, investors will focus on the weakness at ESPN and what Disney can do to accelerate its turnaround.
ESPN laid off nearly 100 on-air and ESPN.com personalities, related to the weight of the cost of its ongoing sports contracts, as well as a continued decline in subscriber levels. Consumers are increasingly opting for having a cable package without ESPN, or just getting an internet-only service from their internet service provider and watching Netflix, Amazon and other over-the-top services.
Loop Capital analyst David Miller wonders whether the charge for the layoffs, which include severance packages and the like, will come this quarter or next.
"Since the layoffs were announced in mid-April, theoretically, those charges would be accounted for in DIS' FQ3, which would be reported in August, but it's very much a possibility that DIS accrued for the layoffs in the March quarter, and could recognize the
charge on a GAAP basis tomorrow afternoon," Miller wrote in a note to investors.
On the fiscal first-quarter earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger said he felt better about ESPN's position in the marketplace and talked up an upcoming over-the-top streaming service, using MLB Advanced Media's technology (Disney owns a stake in the company) to deliver what consumers want, without being tied to the broader cable bundle. However, that sentiment has largely withered in the face of the layoffs.
In addition to ESPN, investors will also be looking to hear what Disney has to say about upcoming movies like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, as well as its parks business as the summer approaches.
Analysts surveyed by Yahoo! Finance expect the company to earn an adjusted $1.41 cents a share on $13.45 billion in revenue for the period.
Over the past 12 months, shares of Disney have gained nearly 6%, excluding dividends, compared to the near 11% gain in the S&P 500.
Here are five ETFs that may benefit if investors like Disney's first-quarter results.
Editors' pick: Originally published May 9.
Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund
JBL Advisors analyst Jeffrey Logsdon noted that the summer box office season is now underway and Disney is a top stock in the studio space, because of its heavy exposure to franchises.
"We expect the Top 25 films during the summer season (first Friday of May through Labor Day) DBOG to be up 3.7% on flattish ticket sales volumes," Logsdon wrote in an investor note.
Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF
Though investors may be down in the interim on the weakness at ESPN, the company is well positioned for the rest of the year at the box office. Upcoming movies include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Cars 3, Thor: Ragnarok as well as the aforementioned upcoming Star Wars.
Loop Capital's Miller expects Disney to generate $13.42 billion in revenue, right around Wall Street consensus. Miller has a hold rating and a $117 price target on Disney shares.
PowerShares Dynamic Media Portfolio ETF
Rosenblatt Securities analyst Alan Gould, who has a neutral rating and a $125 price target, notes that the focus is likely to be on ESPN, but the Studio business should hold up its end of the bargain.
"For the March quarter the key drivers will be additional costs at ESPN from three additional BCS games and the beginning of the new NBA contract, in addition to weak ratings at ESPN and ABC," Gould wrote in a note to investors. "The parks will have a net negative $50 million impact from the Easter holiday falling in the June quarter this year versus the March quarter last year partially offset three extra days of the Christmas holiday falling in the March period. Despite a tough comparison at the studio, and only one release, we think the studio will report an up quarter given the strength of Beauty and the Beast."
Fidelity MSCI Consumer Discretionary Index ETF
Amplify YieldShares CWP Dividend & Option Income ETF