Halt! Don’t sell Disney after ‘Star Wars’: Analyst – CNBC
The force will not be with traders who sell the “Star Wars” rally, Citigroup’s Jason Bazinet said Friday.
The analyst said he isn’t buying the narrative on Wall Street that traders should own shares of Disney heading into the release of “Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens” but sell the stock afterward.
“Here’s what the Street is missing: The slate for 2016 is going to be Disney’s best overall, so it’s really not just about the December release of ‘Star Wars.’ It’s really about the full 2016 theatrical release,” he said in a “Squawk on the Street” interview.
“If you see a pullback in the shares as people sell ahead of the ‘Star Wars’ news, we’re buying on that.”
Next year, Disney will release the first “Star Wars” anthology movie, Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War” and “Doctor Strange,” and number of family films, including a live-action “Jungle Book” and an “Alice in Wonderland” sequel.
Shares of Disney were up 2.3 percent on Friday, a day after the company reported mixed quarterly earnings. The stock price has gained 22 percent year to date.
Revenue in Disney’s studio entertainment segment hit $1.8 billion in the fourth quarter, roughly flat from the previous year but in line with analyst expectations. Operating income for the segment more than doubled, due to theatrical distribution of titles like “Inside Out” and “Ant-Man.”
To be sure, Disney’s largest segment is media networks. Investors had worried about the strength of Disney’s cable networks after Chairman Bob Iger hinted the business, including the all-important ESPN, had lost traction and subscribers after Disney’s third-quarter.
Those comments sent Disney’s stock — and the entire media complex — spiraling.
In the most recent quarter, Disney media networks had operating income of $1.82 billion, a 27 percent increase from the previous year. The company attributed the improvement to higher affiliate fees as well as stronger advertising revenue at the ESPN and ABC networks.