Walt Disney and News Corp. were the hottest media stocks of 2006. Can they repeat that performance this year?
By Paul R. La Monica
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- So far, 2007 is looking an awfully lot like last year for major media companies. Walt Disney and News Corp.
were two of the best performing media stocks in 2006 thanks to strong ratings for their broadcast and cable networks as well as big box office sales from their movie divisions.
News Corp's stock shot up 35 percent last year while shares of Disney surged 44 percent. Disney's stock is up nearly 3 percent so far this year while shares of News Corp. are up 9 percent. Both stocks are trading just a touch below their 52-week highs.
Disney owns ABC and ESPN and the Buena Vista movie studio, which had big hits with the second movie in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy as well as "Cars," the computer animated movie produced by Pixar, which Disney bought last year.
News Corp. owns the Fox television network, which won the ratings battle for 18-49 year-olds for the second season in a row thanks to its runaway hit "American Idol," the Fox News cable channel and the Fox movie studio, which released box office blockbusters "X-Men: The Last Stand," "Night at the Museum", and "Ice Age: The Meltdown."