AMC Networks Stock Hits 52-Week High as Analysts Remain Bullish

Josh Sapan Portrait 2011

The stock has reached its highest price since the company's spin-off from Cablevision, with some analysts raising their earnings estimates and price targets.

The stock of cable channel group AMC Networks on Thursday hit a 52-week high following better-than-expected third-quarter earnings.

The stock went as high as $55.38, its highest price since its mid-2011 spin-off from cable operator Cablevision Systems. The Dolan family is the major shareholder in both companies.

At the end of the Thursday trading day, shares of AMC finished up 8.5 percent at $52.57, giving the company a market value $3.77 billion. The stock is up 40 percent year-to-date and is trading well above its 52-week low of $31.72.

The company's third-quarter earnings of $37 million were down 8 percent due to an extended carriage dispute with Dish Network. But revenue at the firm, led by CEO Josh Sapan, rose 17 percent to $332 million.

Stifel, Nicolaus analyst Benjamin Mogil late Thursday raised target price on the stock of AMC by $10 to $58, citing "stronger-than-expected results as the company continues to increase its monetization of ratings." He has a "buy" rating on the stock.

Said the analyst: "This sets the stage for a strong fourth quarter as the company regains Dish carriage and has its strongest show of the year airing."

His current target price does not incorporate any contribution from a recent legal settlement with Dish as AMC and Cablevision have yet to disclose how they will split up the money. "But clearly the company will gain some economics from the settlement," Mogil said.
Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente called AMC's latest financials "very impressive." He raised 2013 financial estimates, reiterated his "overweight" rating on the stock and boosted his price target on the stock by $10 to $60.

Twitter: @georgszalai