Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Report shares soared Tuesday, buoyed by strong earnings numbers, the shoring up of its management team and an upgrade by an influential media analyst.

In late morning trading, Disney shares were up 3 15/16, or 12%, to 37 1/4. (Disney closed up 4 3/16, or 12.57%, at 37 1/2.)

The world's second-largest media company blew by Wall Street's expectations by 5 cents in its earnings report, which it posted after the market closed Monday. Michael Eisner, chairman and chief executive, also quelled Wall Street jitters over the company's lack of a clear successor by naming Robert Iger, president of

Walt Disney International

and chairman of Disney's

ABC Group

, as president.

Jessica Reif-Cohen of

Merrill Lynch

said Tuesday morning that she is upgrading her intermediate-term rating on Disney from neutral to accumulate. "Thanks in large part to the sensational success of

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

coupled with the increasingly robust advertising environment across virtually all media platforms, Disney's Media Networks ... is quickly improving Disney's visibility of an earnings recovery," Reif-Cohen wrote in a report Tuesday morning. Merrill has not had a recent investment banking relationship with the company.

Other analysts aren't as bullish on Disney despite Monday's announcement.

Gerard Klauer Mattison's

Alan Gould wrote in a Tuesday report that the company still has weaknesses in the home video and consumer products areas that it must address. "While the company is addressing these issues and appears to have fixed the ratings problem at ABC, we believe it is premature to call a turn at the company due to one extremely strong quarter," Gould said in his report. He is maintaining his hold rating on the stock.

Burbank, Calif.-based Disney posted earnings of 25 cents per share for the first quarter. Wall Street had expected earnings of 20 cents per share, based on a survey of analysts conducted by

First Call/Thomson Financial

.

Those numbers exclude its Internet business,

Go.com

(GO) - Get Report

, which Disney said reported a "substantial," albeit expected, loss for the quarter, but did not elaborate.

Disney said Go.com would report its earnings in early February. At the same time,

Disney Group

will report its results, including its retained interest of about 72% in Go.com.