Walt Disney (DIS) Lowered to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note released on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “Disney’s higher programming costs at ESPN remains a concern. Additionally, ongoing investments in its technology platform are expected to keep margins under pressure. Weakness in the Consumer Products & Interactive Media segment is also a headwind. 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. However, Disney’s blockbuster performance at the box office bodes well. Additionally, its top line is expected to benefit from the solid line-up of big budget movies slated to be released over the next 18 months. Moreover, solid content portfolio at ESPN+ as well as impressive Disney+ original content line-up, expected to release in 2019, is expected to win subscribers rapidly. Shares have outperformed the industry over the past year.”

Other analysts have also issued reports about the stock. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Walt Disney from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, October 19th. Loop Capital raised their price target on shares of Walt Disney to $130.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, November 9th. Argus lifted their target price 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. B. Riley reiterated a neutral rating on shares of Walt Disney in a research report on Friday, November 9th. 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. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $122.37.

NYSE DIS opened at $112.65 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 0.94, a quick ratio of 0.86 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32. The firm has a market capitalization of $167.73 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.91, a P/E/G ratio of 1.93 and a beta of 1.05. Walt Disney has a 52-week low of $97.68 and a 52-week 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 (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.31 by $0.17. The company had revenue of $14.30 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $13.76 billion. Walt Disney had a net margin of 21.20% and a return on equity of 21.43%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 11.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business posted $1.07 EPS. Research analysts forecast that Walt Disney will post 7.05 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a semiannual dividend, which was paid on Thursday, January 10th. Stockholders of record on Monday, December 10th were given a dividend of $0.88 per share. This is a positive change from Walt Disney’s previous semiannual dividend of $0.84. This represents a dividend yield of 1.51%. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 7th. Walt Disney’s payout ratio is 24.86%.

In other Walt Disney news, EVP Brent Woodford sold 294 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, January 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $110.00, for a total value of $32,340.00. Following the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 26,513 shares in the company, valued at $2,916,430. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, Chairman Robert A. Iger sold 47,733 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 9th. The shares were sold at an average price of $120.00, for a total transaction of $5,727,960.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 60,339 shares of company stock worth $7,112,707. 0.38% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in Walt Disney by 0.5% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 103,729,219 shares of the entertainment giant’s stock valued at $12,130,095,000 after buying an additional 553,232 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc raised its stake in shares of Walt Disney by 0.5% in the third quarter. Vanguard Group Inc now owns 103,729,219 shares of the entertainment giant’s stock worth $12,130,095,000 after acquiring an additional 553,232 shares during the last quarter. Phocas Financial Corp. raised its stake in shares of Walt Disney by 989,639.9% in the second quarter. Phocas Financial Corp. now owns 67,054,876 shares of the entertainment giant’s stock worth $703,000 after acquiring an additional 67,048,101 shares during the last quarter. FMR LLC raised its stake in shares of Walt Disney by 1.5% in the third quarter. FMR LLC now owns 26,397,731 shares of the entertainment giant’s stock worth $3,086,951,000 after acquiring an additional 382,573 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Clearbridge Investments LLC raised its stake in shares of Walt Disney by 2.1% in the third quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 9,031,930 shares of the entertainment giant’s stock worth $1,056,194,000 after acquiring an additional 189,866 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 62.85% 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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