Citing negative economic trends fueled by increased energy costs, reduced consumer spending and the faltering housing market, Citigroup downgraded its opinion on Walt Disney Company stock from "hold" to "sell."
Disney shares dropped 1.9% on the news and were trading at $28.80 at market close.
Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet noted while there was nothing fundamentally wrong with how Disney conducted business, "Disney's strategy and strong execution may simply get overshadowed by macroeconomic forces. That is, as energy costs remain stubbornly high, the housing market falters, and equity values pull back, we think it's only natural for consumer spending to slow."
In a response rarely made by companies following analyst reports, Disney CFO Thomas Stagg said in a prepared statement, "Thus far, we are pleased with the pace of business at our parks, especially given the fact that we had record attendance at our domestic parks last year."