Stocks to watch: Walt Disney, Fastenal
The entertainment company shares are upgraded, and the industrial and construction supplies provider beats estimates.
By Michael Baron, TheStreet.com
Walt Disney (DIS)
The Dow component received an upgrade from Wells Fargo early Thursday. The firm went to "outperform" from "market perform" on the stock, saying concerns -- such as the potential for margin contractions at ESPN -- that previously kept its optimism in check seem to have dissipated.
"Fast forward to today, and the truth is our fears appear unwarranted," Wells Fargo said. "We understand that DIS is a consensus long but we think estimates are too low and that the stock may actually break out of its current mid to high $40-range on this coming earnings call. If we are wrong and DIS misses expectations, then we would view a pull back as a great entry point given our increased confidence in the long-term story."
The firm also lifted its earnings expectations for Disney for the third quarter, fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013 and lifted its valuation range to $56-58 from $44-46.
"What's different?,"Wells Fargo said. "1) Parks are improving more rapidly than even the most bullish analysts have anticipated. 2) The Avengers! 3) Our view that ESPN margins actually can expand. 4) Significant LT growth in FCF, which could lead to incremental shareholder returns. And 5) what is not necessarily different but is a current significant advantage is DIS's LOW ad exposure (at about 20%)."
Disney's stock closed Wednesday at $47.27, up more than 25% year-to-date.
Fastenal reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of $112.3 million, or 38 cents a share, on sales of $804.9 million. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for a profit of 37 cents a share in the June-ended period on revenue of $807.7 million. Shares of the Winona, Minn.-based maker of industrial and construction supply products closed Wednesday's session at $39.81, down nearly 9% so far in 2012.
Shares of SuperValu were dropping sharply in pre-market action after the Minneapolis-based grocery store operator reported a below-consensus quarterly profit, suspended its dividend and said it's conducting a review of its strategic options.
The company, which is seeking to reduce its debt load by between $450 million and $500 million in fiscal 2013, posted a profit of $41 million, or 19 cents a share, for its fiscal first quarter on sales of $10.6 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for earnings of 38 cents a share on sales of $10.8 billion. The stock was last quoted at $3.77, down 28.7%, according to Nasdaq.com.
Callaway Golf (ELY)
Callaway Golf said late Wednesday it's cutting 12% of its global workforce as part of an effort to generate gross annual savings of $52 million. The Carlsbad, Calif.-based golf equipment maker also said it now expects to report a pro forma loss of 55 to 75 cents a share for fiscal 2012. Wall Street's current consensus estimate is for a loss of 21 cents a share for the full year.
"As I mentioned last quarter, the Company's business has not recovered at a satisfactory pace and we are taking actions to accelerate the recovery," said Chip Brewer, the company's president and CEO, in a statement. "The cost reduction initiatives we announced today are part of those actions and are consistent with the significant changes we are making in streamlining and simplifying our organization and in how we approach and operate our business."
Family Dollar (FDO)
It could be a rough session for Family Dollar shares after Bank of America Merrill Lynch lowered its rating on the stock to underperform and dropped its 12-month price target to $60 from $71, citing rising concerns about the off-price retailer's strategy and execution abilities.
"Given the performance that the stock has had (+22% in the last 4M), expectations are very high ... but execution risk is even higher, in our view," the firm said. "While we remain very positive on the dollar store subsector, we continue to prefer Dollar General (DG), which we believe will be the long-term beneficiary in retail."
B of A thinks the company could disappoint in its fiscal fourth quarter ending in August.
"We expect margins to fall faster than comps can accelerate, causing earnings growth to lag and capping further valuation multiple expansion," the firm said. "In particular, our scenario analysis on the impact of tobacco sales suggests significant margin erosion. For every 5% of transactions which include tobacco, we estimate the blended GP could decline by ~50bp."
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As the unprofitable video game maker struggles to retain favor among gamers, investors and the tech community itself, it's shifting its focus to a much smaller target: mobile.
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