Disney gets an upgrade from Macquarie analysts

Macquarie analysts say Disney has more magic than ever, upgrade rating

Associated Press

Macquarie analysts on Tuesday raised their rating on Walt Disney Co.'s stock, saying that the company has "more magic than ever".

THE OPINION: Analysts Tim Nollen and James Kopelman upgraded their rating to "Outperform" from "Neutral" based on their improved confidence in Disney's parks and studios division.

They said improving U.S. consumer spending should help boost attendance at Disney parks. And new technology that Disney plans to roll out later this year should help optimize how visitors can plan their time spent in parks. That, in turn, could help increase how much visitors spend during their visits. Disney has also expanded its Hong Kong park and has a park slated to open in Shanghai in 2015.

The analysts also pointed to Disney's recent acquisitions of Marvel and LucasFilm as a means to beef up its potential for creating blockbuster films for its studio division. They also said that ESPN remains at the top of its game, providing Disney with stable, visible and high-growth revenue and earnings.

Nollen and Kopelman raised their 2013 estimate from $3.45 to $3.47 and 2014 estimates from $3.88 to $4. Analysts, on average, are anticipating earnings of $3.47 per share for 2013 and $3.95 for 2014, according to FactSet.

The analysts also raised their target price from $70 to $75.

THE STOCK: Walt Disney stock increased 5 cents to $63.88 in afternoon Tuesday after rising as high as $64.30 earlier in the day. Its stock hit an all-time high of $67.89 earlier this month following a particularly strong second-quarter earnings report.

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