(Disney article updated with stock information and additional analyst commentary.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Walt Disney ( DIS) shares have reached a series of 52-week highs this week after Morgan Stanley raised its price target for the media and entertainment company to $44 from $43 and maintained its overweight rating on the stock.

Today shares rose almost $1 from yesterday's closing price and peaked at $39.98. More than 14.5 million shares have been traded today, up from the stock's 3-month average daily volume of 8.1 million.

On Tuesday, Disney surged to a high of $39 as nearly 21 million shares traded hands throughout the day. The stock closed up more than 3% at $38.99.

Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne increased his 2011 earnings estimate for Disney to $2.44 from $2.38, driven by cost reductions at its broadcast segment as well as revenue gains from its recent deal with Netflix ( NFLX).

Caris analyst David Miller also boosted his guidance on Disney. In a Jan. 3 research note, Miller upped his 2011 earnings estimate to 58 cents a share from his previously projected 54 cents. He raised his price target to $42 from $40 due to "stellar fundamentals at ESPN," which he says continues to prosper from affiliate fees and advertising growth on exclusive sports rights properties.

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Morgan Stanley's Swinburne agrees that ESPN will see overall revenue gains due to improving affiliate revenue growth, which accounts for 65% of ESPN's revenue.

Swinburne also expects Disney to benefit from its growing cruise line. On Tuesday, Disney introduced the Disney Dream, a 4,000-passenger cruise liner which cost more than $900 million to build.

Cruise line stocks have been gaining recently as analysts note that that demand for cruises has been improving. HSBC Global Research analyst Ben O'Toole says that the operators are further helped by slow supply growth.

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