Disney Shares Close at Record High

Bob Iger Disney 2011
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With a stock price of $50.49, the media conglomerate boasts a market capitalization that exceeds $90 billion.

Shares of the Walt Disney Co. closed Wednesday at $50.49, an all-time high when stock splits and dividends are taken into account.

The record closing price comes a day after the company reported a fiscal third-quarter profit that also set a record and blew past the expectations of analysts.

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Analysts initially had mixed reactions to the quarterly report, since revenue of $11.1 billion fell just short of the average they expected, and shares trended lower after Tuesday’s closing bell. A day later, though, an upbeat presentation from CEO Bob Iger and impressive per-share earnings of $1.01 – 8 cents better than expectations -- seized the day and the stock climbed 68 cents Wednesday to a new closing high.

Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible, whose 86-cents-per-share estimate was one of the more bearish on Wall Street, reiterated his “buy” recommendation Wednesday and upped his “fair value” on the stock by $7 to $56 a share.

“Disney has set the stage for long-term growth through its Park investments, TV deals and the Marvel acquisition,” Wible told his clients Wednesday. “The launch of new Park projects over the coming quarters and years will drive attendance and longer stays while Marvel is set up to drive new intellectual property into the studio, TV and consumer products businesses.”

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Disney’s stock price of $50.49 left it with a $90.24 billion market capitalization Wednesday, according to Yahoo Finance, just below that of Comcast, which remained the most valuable of the seven major media conglomerates.

News Corp. was the third most valuable with a market cap of $57.9 billion, followed by Time Warner ($40.2 billion), CBS ($23 billion), Viacom ($14.9 billion) and Sony ($11.8 billion).

Email: Paul.Bond@thr.com