Disney: 'Reslience and Value'
By: TheStockAdvisors.com Thursday, July 03, 2008 12:51 PM
Symbols: ABC, DIS
"Companies dependent on consumer spending have been under a cloud on Wall Street," cautions Chuck Carlson, a top expert on high quality stocks and dividend reinvestment plans.
"However, Disney (NYSE: DIS) is one of those consumer-dependent stocks where conventional wisdom may not be correct," he adds in his The DRIP Investor. Here, he looks at what he calls a "solid value."
"With $4-per-gallon gasoline, one would think that the high cost of travel would take some steam out of the firm’s theme park attendance. However, recent results on this front were decent, and the firm’s other businesses have held up, too.
"To be sure, a prolonged recession would impact business. Still, Disney has done a nice job of positioning
its theme parks as an affordable vacation for families, and that should help it continue to weather
"Disney surprised Wall Street with the resiliency of its theme-park and resort business in the fi scal second quarter. Revenue for the unit jumped 11% in the quarter. Results were aided by a boost in international visitors taking advantage of the weak dollar.
"Also, the early Easter holiday helped results in the quarter. Perceptions of the cost of a Disney family vacation as an affordable alternative have also helped attendance figures.
"Indeed, roughly three-quarters of the firm’s rooms at its resorts are considered 'moderate' or 'value' priced. Thus, the parks may actually be benefi ting from a more value-oriented vacationing public.
"Other operations should continue to do reasonably well this year. The firm’s movie operations should get a big boost with the upcoming release of the next Pixar/Disney animated movie, Wall-E.
"While there is always a lot of pressure on the animated division to continue its streak of hits, Disney’s Pixar unit has rarely disappointed.
"The company’s media-network operations, its largest unit in terms of sales, also posted improved results in the fiscal second quarter. Revenue jumped 5% and operating income rose 14%. Results were aided by continued growth in its ESPN operations.
"In its ABC broadcasting business, operating income rose 17%. Results were aided by strong performance of its ABC Studios productions in international markets, led by Grey’s Anatomy and Lost.
"For fiscal 2008 ending in September, Disney should earn record profits around $2.33 per share, up 21% from the $1.92 earned in fiscal 2007. The stock trades at less than 14 times the fiscal 2008 estimate, on he cheap side for a company with such strong brands and operating momentum.
"While Wall Street’s angst over consumer spending could limit the stock’s performance in the near term, long-term investors should take advantage of the current price lull to buy shares. Disney’s current yield based on its latest annual dividend payment of $0.35 per share is 1.1%.
"The stock offers a solid value at current prices, and investors would do well to buy aggressively
on pullbacks below $30.
"Disney’s direct-purchase plan permits initial purchases with a minimum initial investment of $1,000.
The firm will waive the minimum if an investor agrees to automatic monthly investment via electronic debit of a bank account of at least $100."