Disney (DIS) gives its first quarterly report since announcing its industry-shaking purchase of much of Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) after the market close on Tuesday. Investors will listen for details on how the deal is proceeding, but will also listen for details about benefits from the new tax law, ESPN's health amid cord-cutting and waning NFL ratings, and the impact of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" on results.
Wall Street expects Disney to post earnings of $1.61 per share in the first fiscal quarter of 2018 on a non-Gaap basis, and $15.48 billion in sales.
Shares of Disney dropped 3.7% to $104.70 in Monday's selloff, and fell nearly 0.5% after the close.On Tuesday, Disney shares were down about 1% to $103.52. The stock has dropped more than 7% since Friday as the Dow has shed more than 1,800 points over that span.
The impact of the changes to the tax code will be a major draw, Moody's Investors Service analyst Neil Begley suggested.
Rival Time Warner (TWX) said in January that its effective tax rate would fall from 29% in the third quarter of last year to 20% this year. The improved tax outlook prompted Wells Fargo Securities LLC to boost its 2018 Time Warner earnings estimate from $6.54 to $7.73 because of the tax benefits, and investors will look for the impact on Disney's top line.
Iger will make his first quarterly report since announcing the purchase of Twenty-First Century Fox's film and TV studios, cable networks, global satellite TV businesses and other assets for $52.4 billion, or $66.1 billion including debt. Iger may be able to outline the company's approach to obtaining regulatory clearance in Washington. The response to the deal in Hollywood will also be interesting, BMO Capital Markets analyst Dan Salmon said in an earnings preview. "What has early feedback on the proposed transaction with Fox been from the creative community?" Salmon asked in the report.
Investors will listen for the impact of declining NFL ratings on Disney's ESPN, and for guidance on the company's ambitions in live sports. Disney's ABC was reportedly in the running for Thursday Night Football, though Fox prevailed with a $660 million deal.
Cord-cutting could provide a reality check for Disney's cable networks, after Netflix (NFLX) announced a record 8.3 million streaming subscription additions in the fourth quarter.
The box office likely provided with mixed returns in the quarter. "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" debuted Dec. 15 and has fallen short of expectations. UBS analyst John Hodulik lowered his Disney earnings forecast from $1.63 to $1.60 per share primarily because of the film's performance.
However, Marvel's "Thor: Ragnarok" and Pixar's "Coco" have done well and could offset the Star Wars results. Meanwhile, Iger will likely herald the debut of the highly anticipated Marvel film "Black Panther" on Feb. 16.