Disney shares jump as Wall Street getting optimistic media giant can compete with Netflix


Disney shares are rising Friday as analysts are bullish on its upcoming internet video streaming services, despite the company’s earnings miss.

The media giant reported weaker-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Thursday. It generated earnings per share of $1.07 versus the $1.12 Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. But analysts got excited after the company said it would price its upcoming streaming service “substantially below” Netflix during the earnings conference call.

The stock rose 3 percent Friday morning.

“We finally got some glimpse into pricing … to convert Disney’s ‘gigantic’ customer base into subs – with pricing likely to move higher as more and more content is added,” Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker wrote in a note to clients Friday. “Given how just about all of our stocks tend to trade on sub numbers, we view this strategic comment as an incremental positive.”

Disney announced plans in August to launch a branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019 and an ESPN streaming service in 2018.

Ryvicker reiterated her outperform rating and $116 price target for Disney shares.

In similar fashion, Goldman Sachs is bullish on Disney’s upcoming ESPN streaming offering.

Disney’s “EPS growth is poised to accelerate reflecting a bigger and better film slate (2 Star Wars, 4 Marvel, 2 PIXAR) with ample consumer products opportunities, tailwinds from new attractions (Avatar in Orlando, Toy Story Land in Orlando and Shanghai), and an improving outlook for ESPN driven by benefits from virtual MVPDs and ESPN Plus – the new OTT launching this spring,” analyst Drew Borst wrote in a note to clients Friday.

Borst reaffirmed his buy rating and raised his price target to $120 from $115 for Disney shares.

Disney has underperformed the market this year with its shares down 1.5 percent in 2017 through Thursday, compared with the S&P 500’s 15.5 percent return.

One analyst is also optimistic on the future prospects of other Disney businesses.

“While the quarter largely missed our expectations, looking ahead, we remain upbeat on DIS shares as we head into a strong film slate, growth from recent and upcoming carriage renewals, and continued momentum at the Parks,” Piper Jaffray analyst Stan Meyers wrote in a note to clients Friday.

“The company remains best positioned in the current fragmented media landscape to leverage its content across a growing number of distribution channels, its own global theme parks and consumer products.”

Meyers reiterated his overweight rating and lowered his price target to $120 from $130 for Disney shares, representing 17 percent upside to Thursday’s close.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this story.

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