Disney stock upgraded on upfront outlook

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NEW YORK -- SMH Capital analyst David Miller on Friday upgraded his rating on shares of the Walt Disney Co. from "hold" to "buy" citing momentum at the conglomerate's TV networks.

The analyst has a $44 price target on the stock.

In a research report, Miller said he has raised his fiscal year 2008 financial projections for Disney, suggesting that "the Street may be underestimating the free cash flow and earnings power of two specific forces at work within the Media Networks unit."

First, the analyst argued that the value of sports programming "is becoming all the more obvious" as upfront advertising negotiations continue.

Second, he pointed out that several series are now "headed for exploitation within the international syndication window," which will bring in additional earnings.

Miller also cited continued stock buybacks as a positive for Disney shares.
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