Walt Disney Co’s fiscal third earnings topped analysts’ expectations, boosted by higher revenue from its cable networks and theme parks.
But in Wednesday midday trading, shares fell $3.23, or 9.3 percent, to $31.47 on the the New York Stock Exchange after Barclays Capital, Wunderlich Securities, RBC and Evercore Partners all cut their price targets.
On top of fears about the impact of faltering economy on consumer spending, RBC analyst David Bank noted that ESPN ad growth and margins at theme parks were "softer than expected."
After the markets closed on Tuesday, the Burbank entertainment giant reported net income of $1.48 billion (77 cents per share), compared with $1.33 billion (67 cents) in the same period a year earlier.
Revenue rose 6.7 percent to nearly $10.7 billion, with television-related revenue increasing 5 percent to more than $4.9 billion and theme park revenue up 12 percent to $3.2 billion.
Excluding restructuring and impairment charges, Disney had adjusted earnings of 78 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected per-share profit 73 cents on revenue of less than $10.5 billion.
Cable TV channel revenue, which includes ESPN, was up 7 percent to $3.52 billion. ESPN ad revenue was relatively flat, with higher ad rates helping to offset the lack of a strong draw, such as last year’s soccer World Cup. Overall, broadcast revenue was down 1 percent to $1.43 billion on lower local station political advertising. That was somewhat offset by higher ad revenue at the company’s flagship ABC network.
The company’s studio division struggled, with revenue down 1 percent to $1.6 billion despite a strong box office performance from the fourth installment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. The year-earlier quarter included strong sales from both “Toy Story 3” and “Iron Man 2.”
While Pixar’s “Cars 2” opened only a few days before the end of the quarter, related product sales contributed to a 13 percent increase in consumer products revenue to $685 million. Interactive Media revenue jumped 27 percent to $251 million on sales of video games tied to “Pirates” and “Cars 2.”
And despite lower revenue from Tokyo Disney Resort related to the March earthquake, U.S. resorts saw higher revenue both from price hikes and the shift of the Easter holiday into the third quarter.
“Our third quarter demonstrates the continued strength of our media networks … parks and resorts, and consumer products,” said Chief Executive Robert Iger in a statement. “In these turbulent times, our company and its array of strong brands are well-positioned to deliver long-term shareholder value.”
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