Disney hits record high after record-setting 'Avengers' opening

  • Disney shares hit a record Monday morning after JPMorgan put out a positive note on the name.
  • The firm bumped up its price target and earnings estimates after considering strength from a record-setting box-office performance from “Avengers: Endgame.”
  • Watch Disney trade live.

Disney shares leapt to a record high Monday morning after JPMorgan analysts doubled down on their positive view on the company, citing the blowout box-office performance of “Avengers: Endgame” and strength in its studio segment.

“Avengers: Endgame” smashed records with its weekend debut. The film drew in an estimated $US1.2 billion worldwide, making it the biggest opening weekend on record. Its domestic totals over the weekend also set a record, with $US350 million in sales.

“While Disney’s core business has been largely overshadowed by the reveal of Disney+, the underlying business continues to perform very well with several notable catalysts ahead that we believe may continue to drive outperformance,” analysts led by Alexia Quadrani wrote.

Quadrani sees the stock going to $US150 a share by the end of the year – 5% above the $US142.35 where shares were trading on Monday morning. She also upped her earnings estimates for 2019 and 2020.

The firm also bumped up its full-year earnings estimates to $US6.80 a share from $US6.69, largely on what it sees as better-than-expected studio performance in its fiscal second- and third-quarter. As for 2020, they hiked their forecast to $US6.50 from $US6.35, a smaller annual forecast than for 2019.

Ahead of Disney’s fiscal second-quarter earnings on May 8, the firm upped its earnings expectations for that quarter to $US1.67 from $US1.63, primarily on better-than-expected “Capital Marvel” performance at the box office. That’s slightly higher than the consensus, with analysts polled by Bloomberg expecting adjusted earnings per share of $US1.55.

Gains from “Avengers: Endgame” would likely show up the following quarter, the analysts predicted.

“We are also raising FQ3 ’19 to $US1.80 from $US1.73 on a better than anticipated performance of Avengers: Endgame,” Quadrani wrote. “While we are still modelling a down year in studio profits following Disney’s record year in F2018, we are projecting over $US2.8b in Studio operating income.”

Prior to Monday’s gain, Disney shares had already been on a tear in 2019, trading up 29% and outpacing the S&P’s 17% gain. Earlier this month, shares jumped to an all-time high after Disney revealed the plans for its own streaming service, Disney Plus, set for release in November.

Read more: Disney soars to record high after laying out the details of its new streaming service.

Wall Street is overwhelmingly bullish on Disney. Of analysts polled by Bloomberg, 14 rate the stock a “buy,” nine have a “neutral” rating, and one recommends “sell.”

Shares hit a record high of $US142.37 apiece at the market’s open, but have given up their gains and are now trading just below the flat line.

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