Disney Shares Surge 6% as Wall Street Raves About Earnings

1:41 PM PST 11/11/2011 by Paul Bond

“After two unspectacular quarters, Disney rewarded shareholders who kept the faith," one analyst tells his clients.

Disney saw its stock rise 6 percent on Friday as Wall Street analysts cheered its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that were disclosed a day earlier.

The company said Thursday that its quarterly revenue rose 7 percent to $10.43 billion and net income soared 30 percent to $1.25 billion.

“A resounding beat,” crowed Michael Nathanson of Nomura Equity Research on Friday. “After two unspectacular quarters, Disney rewarded shareholders who kept the faith.”

Nathanson upped his price target on Disney stock by an impressive $5 a share on Friday to $43.

Disney shares rose $2.06 on Friday to $36.70.

“Disney gets back in the expectations game after two disappointing quarters,” echoed Michael Morris of Davenport & Co. The analyst increased his target on Disney by $1 on Friday to $39 a share.

“The operating results were solid where it mattered, as cable networks, parks and resorts and broadcast results came in above expectations,” said Anthony DiClemente of Barclays Capital. The analyst left his $44 price target unchanged.

Most of the analysts seemed impressed with Disney’s theme park and ESPN assets.

“Given ESPN’s highest-ever market share of sports content, ESPN has built a strong competitive moat around its business,” said DiClemente.

Even an NBA lockout won’t harm ESPN, Disney CEO Bob Iger told the analysts on Thursday, as fans and advertisers will seek college basketball and other sports to fill the void.

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