Walt Disney (DIS) Upgraded to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Disney’s shares have outperformed the industry over the past year. Additionally, blockbuster performance of Disney movies at the box office is aiding Studio segment growth. Moreover, the company’s top line is expected to benefit from the solid line-up of big budget movies slated to be released over the next 18 months. Solid content portfolio at ESPN+ as well as impressive Disney+ original content line-up, expected to release in 2019, is also expected to win subscribers rapidly. However, Disney’s ongoing investments in its technology platform are expected to keep margins under pressure. Additionally, higher programming costs at ESPN remains a concern. Moreover, higher labor-related costs and softness experienced in tourism and consumer confidence in China are likely to impact Parks & Resorts segment in the near term.”

Several other equities analysts also recently commented on DIS. ValuEngine raised shares of Walt Disney from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, October 19th. B. Riley restated a neutral rating on shares of Walt Disney in a research report on Friday, November 9th. Argus increased their price objective on shares of Walt Disney from $129.00 to $135.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Monday, November 12th. Pivotal Research restated a sell rating and set a $95.00 price objective on shares of Walt Disney in a research report on Sunday, September 23rd. Finally, Wolfe Research started coverage on shares of Walt Disney in a research report on Friday, December 7th. They set an outperform rating on the stock. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company. Walt Disney has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $122.37.

Walt Disney stock traded up $0.03 during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $111.04. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 8,552,682 shares, compared to its average volume of 7,724,860. The company has a quick ratio of 0.86, a current ratio of 0.94 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32. The company has a market capitalization of $165.33 billion, a PE ratio of 15.68, a P/E/G ratio of 1.89 and a beta of 1.05. Walt Disney has a 12 month low of $97.68 and a 12 month high of $120.20.

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, November 8th. The entertainment giant reported $1.48 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.31 by $0.17. The business had revenue of $14.30 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $13.76 billion. Walt Disney had a net margin of 21.20% and a return on equity of 21.43%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 11.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $1.07 earnings per share. As a group, equities analysts expect that Walt Disney will post 7.08 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a semiannual dividend, which was paid on Thursday, January 10th. Shareholders of record on Monday, December 10th were given a $0.88 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 7th. This is an increase from Walt Disney’s previous semiannual dividend of $0.84. This represents a yield of 1.51%. Walt Disney’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 24.86%.

In other news, Chairman Robert A. Iger sold 47,733 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $120.00, for a total transaction of $5,727,960.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Brent Woodford sold 294 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, January 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $110.00, for a total transaction of $32,340.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now owns 26,513 shares in the company, valued at $2,916,430. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 60,381 shares of company stock worth $7,117,444 over the last 90 days. Insiders own 0.38% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Brightworth raised its holdings in shares of Walt Disney by 1.3% in the 3rd quarter. Brightworth now owns 54,415 shares of the entertainment giant’s stock valued at $6,363,000 after purchasing an additional 715 shares in the last quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL raised its position in Walt Disney by 17.9% during the third quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL now owns 48,859 shares of the entertainment giant’s stock worth $5,714,000 after acquiring an additional 7,430 shares during the period. First American Bank acquired a new position in Walt Disney during the third quarter worth $10,901,000. Long Road Investment Counsel LLC acquired a new position in Walt Disney during the third quarter worth $208,000. Finally, Cambridge Trust Co. raised its position in Walt Disney by 3.2% during the third quarter. Cambridge Trust Co. now owns 36,480 shares of the entertainment giant’s stock worth $4,266,000 after acquiring an additional 1,141 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 62.82% of the company’s stock.

Walt Disney Company Profile

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an entertainment company worldwide. The company's Media Networks segment operates cable programming businesses under the ESPN, Disney, and Freeform brands; broadcast businesses, including ABC TV Network and eight owned television stations; and radio businesses.

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