BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- International drama is driving the price action this morning, with a surprise trade deficit in China and the ongoing situation in the Ukraine weighing on equity prices this morning -- and more noticeably on oil prices.
Crude futures dropped more than 1% on fears over weaker demand this morning.
But U.S. stocks are still holding their ground, even as Asian equities sell off hard. To take advantage of the relative strength here at home, we're turning to a new set of five new "Rocket Stocks" that look ready for blastoff this week.
For the uninitiated, "Rocket Stocks" are our list of companies with short-term gain catalysts and longer-term growth potential. To find them, I run a weekly quantitative screen that seeks out stocks with a combination of analyst upgrades and positive earnings surprises to identify rising analyst expectations, a bullish signal for stocks in any market. After all, where analysts' expectations are increasing, institutional cash often follows. In the last 239 weeks, our weekly list of five plays has outperformed the S&P 500 by 82%.
Without further ado, here's a look at this week's Rocket Stocks.
First up is Walt Disney (DIS), the name behind a vast portfolio of TV, film and theme park assets spread across the world. The firm's intellectual property includes some of the most beloved characters in the world, from Mickey Mouse to Hannah Montana. Disney also owns some less obvious businesses, such as ESPN, that contribute a huge portion of the firm's revenue.
Disney's integrated entertainment model gives the firm some big advantages over smaller companies. Because Disney has its hand in everything from media networks and movie studios to theme parks to merchandise, DIS can leverage the same characters across all of its businesses for substantial profits. TV networks are a cash cow for Disney, and the firm's ESPN franchise is the most valuable cable network on the planet. The network, in turn, makes up the biggest chunk of Disney's TV profits.
For the last few years, the black sheep in Disney's business has been the theme parks. Because they're hugely capital intense and cyclical, Disney's parks were an earnings drag in the wake of the Great Recession -- but as economic headwinds die down, parks are contributing to Disney's profits once again. The economic moat at Disney is immense, and as the economic engine keeps spinning in 2014, shareholders stand to keep benefitting.