NEW YORK (
hit new 52-week highs today after earnings results at both companies showed positivie momentum building behind the overall media market.
Disney shares hit a 52-week high of $38 today, and more than 19 million shares have traded hands compared with the stock's average 3-month volume of about 12 million shares.
Disney reported a
. However, management provided a positive outlook on the recovering advertising market.
"The current trends in our business are encouraging. We're also optimistic about our creative pipeline. Thus, we believe we are well positioned to deliver strong results in 2011," chief financial officer Jay Rasulo said during a conference call with analysts on Thursday.
Media networks revenue fell 6.6% as ESPN saw declines in its revenue, but the company reported a 22% increase in its advertising revenue. While ESPN saw subscriber growth and increased advertising revenue, it was hurt by the impact of one fewer week in the quarter than a year ago.
Revenue from parks and resorts fell slightly in the quarter, but management assured investors that it expects higher attendance in the coming quarters as the economy recovers. The company hopes to make Disney California Adventure a more profitable park through its $1 billion expansion plan.
Viacom shares reached a 52-week high of $45.24 today after reporting
The media company reported adjusted net earnings from continuing operations of $461 million, or 75 cents per share, up 7% from $432 million, or 71 cents, the year before. Adjusted earnings beat analyst estimates of 69 cents a share.
In its report, the company announced plans to sell the Rock Band music video game developer Harmonix. On the company's quarterly conference call, management said that Viacom is not a gaming company and it wants to focus more on its core business of entertainment and media.
Revenue from its media networks was up 8% to $2.13 billion from $1.98 billion due to a 7% growth in worldwide advertising revenue and a 10% increase in worldwide affiliate revenue.
"Many of our cable networks today are achieving new ratings highs and producing hit shows that feed the cultural dialogue in the U.S. and abroad," president and CEO Philippe Dauman said. "This creative success coupled with the improving economy has fueled our advertising revenues, which were up 8% in the U.S. this quarter, our third consecutive quarter of sequential improvement."
In a Nov. 12 note, Analyst John Janedis of UBS reaffirmed his buy rating of the stock, and raised his price target to $44 from $43. He expects its U.S. advertising to increase 7.3% in 2011.
Viacom shares are up more than 40% in the past year.
-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.
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