Digest: Disney downgrade; Take-Two jumps
Citi Investment Research analyst Jason Bazinet on Tuesday downgraded shares of Disney to a rare "sell" rating, citing expected weakness in the conglomerate's theme parks business amid economic sluggishness in the U.S. Disney has been lowering room rates at some parks' hotels for the current quarter, he said, which "suggests Disney anticipates slower demand in 2008." Plus, this trend could be "coupled with a broader ad slowdown," Bazinet said in lowering his earnings estimates. He also cut his price target by $10 to $26.
Shares of Take-Two Interactive Systems rose Tuesday after Lehman Bros. analyst Eric Handler upgraded the video game stock from "underweight" to "equal weight." He also raised his price target by $2 to $19. Handler argued that the gamemaker is turning its business around with strong releases. The stock rose as high as $16.57 before closing up 4.4% at $16.44. During the past year, Take-Two shares have traded between $11.82 and $24.80.
NDS Q2 up 33%
Fiscal second-quarter earnings at NDS Group, the pay TV conditional access services provider controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., rose 33%. Profit for the quarter ending Dec. 31 rose to $40.4 million. The improvement was driven by a 30% revenue increase to $214.9 million.
Ben Ammar shops
ROME -- Tarak Ben Ammar is on the verge of increasing his stake in Lux Vide, an Italian TV content producer, which would be the latest in a series of Italy-based moves for the Franco-Tunisian producer. The deal could close as soon as this week. Ben Ammar already owns a 24% stake in Lux Vide but is looking to acquire at least part of a stake held by Video Delta.