NEW YORK (
shares are gaining today after analysts Michael Nathanson of Nomura Secruities and Tony Wible of Janney Capital raised their estimates to reflect expected gains in the media company's cable networks and domestic parks.
The company saw its
fourth-quarter earnings fall 7.2%
to $835 million, or 43 cents per diluted share, compared with earnings of $895 million, or 47 cents per diluted share, in the same period a year earlier.
While revenue slipped 1.3% during the quarter on decreases at its media networks and parks, several analysts believe that the company is well-positioned for growth over the next few years.
Nathanson raised his earnings estimates on Disney yesterday, maintaining his buy rating and price target of $43. He believes that Disney's earnings will grow by 20% over the next year. He upped his 2011 earnings estimate to $2.47 per share from $2.43.
He said that the media company will see gains on higher profit at its cable networks and improved consumer product licensing.
He also predicts "modest profit contributions from domestic parks," which he expects will "continue to post moderate profit growth."
Tony Wible lowered his estimates for the company's media networks, studio and consumer segments but increased his outlook on parks, corporate margins and minority investment contributions.
While he lowered his 2011 earnings per share estimate to $2.51 from $2.59, he maintained his 2012 forecast of $2.86 and upped his 2013 earnings outlook to $3.12 per share from $3.05 .
He increased his price target to $41, while Disney is currently trading around $37.10, and maintained his neutral rating of the stock.
Wible's revised outlook is based on his belief that Disney will benefit from "new market opportunities" as it expands its parks, adds new ships to its cruise line and capitalizes on new consumer concepts such as digital publishing and new video games.
"The company should also benefit from affiliate fee leverage, new networks
and ABC retransmission deals," Wible said in a Dec. 14 research note.
While Disney reported that its fourth-quarter parks and resorts segment revenue declined slightly to $2.82 billion from $2.84 billion in the year prior, Wible predicts a "park rebound."
"Park elasticity trends suggest we are closer to a recovery," he said. He forecasts a 4.5% increase in domestic attendance in 2011 as well as a 4% increase in money spent per guest.
He also said that domestic hotels have shown signs of recovery. He expects to see a 2.5% gain in occupancy rates in the coming year.
Today, Walt Disney shares are up more than 0.6%, trading around $37.35, at the high end of its 52-week price range of $28.71 to $38.
-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.
>To contact the writer of this article, click here:
>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to
>To submit a news tip, send an email to:
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.