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Ahead of the Bell: Disney rises in premarket

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Walt Disney Co. rose before the market open on Wednesday as its fiscal first-quarter performance beat Wall Street's expectations.

Late Tuesday, the Burbank, Calif.-based company reported adjusted earnings of 79 cents per share on revenue of $11.3 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted earnings of 76 cents per share on revenue of $11.21 billion.

When Disney does well, it tends to lift spirits throughout the stock market. That's because Disney is one of the 30 companies that comprise the influential Dow Jones industrial average and also is part of the Standard & Poor's 500 index that serves as a basis for many investment funds.

Both the Dow Jones and S&P indexes are nearing their all-time highs reached in 2007.

Tony Wible of Janney Capital Markets said in a client note that Disney topped his estimates for earnings of 75 cents per share and revenue of $11.21 billion.

The analyst says that a recent slowdown in advertising and reinvestment of profits from its amusement parks will depress near-term earnings growth. But Wible feels that in the longer term, the company should benefit from opportunities related to park expansion and new networks, franchises, cruise ships, consumer concepts as well as increasing exposure to emerging markets.

The analyst maintained a "Neutral" rating and lifted the company's price target to $58 from $55.

Disney's stock added $1.96, or 3.6 percent, to $56.25 in premarket trading. If that holds up in regular trading, it would top its 52-week high of $54.87.