Disney investors wish upon a star
The entertainment giant is no one-trick pony, but its shares are pricey now, given their limited potential for more gains.
Disney’s Parks & Resorts business, which include Walt Disney World, Disneyland and its cruise ships, accounted for a full $3.4 billion of the company’s $11.4 billion in revenue in the fiscal first quarter. That business generated $577 million of Disney’s $2.38 billion in operating income.
As the economy continues to rebound, Disney’s destinations should do well. Its U.S. resorts are among the most visited by overseas tourists, so they will benefit as economies in Europe and Asia continue to improve.
However, Disney faces plenty of challenges. ESPN and its rivals are paying ever-increasing amounts for professional and college sports broadcast rights because sports is one of the few programming genres that continues to attract large audiences. This comes at a steep price, with costs for NFL rights alone topping $1 billion annually.
And Disney’s multibillion-dollar investments in entertainment companies may take years to pay off in terms of box office receipts and consumer product sales. The company has bet $225 million on "Oz The Great and Powerful," its much-hyped prequel to "The Wizard of Oz." Though it grossed $80.3 million during its opening weekend, the best performance this year of any film, scathing reviews from major film critics may hamper its long-term profitability.
Disney’s stock is expensive and, for now, probably not worth considering. The company trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.22, a five-year-high. Analysts have an average 52-week price target of $60.79 on the stock, about 5% higher than where it currently trades. Investors should wish upon a star for the stock to pull back before adding it to their portfolios.
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