Saturday, 3 February 2024

3 Dates for Disney Stock Investors to Circle in February

by Rose White

Shares of Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) rose by more than 6% last month, quadrupling the market’s return. It’s a notable achievement for the media stock, as it fell short of the market in each of the three previous years.

There isn’t a lot going on at Disney in February beyond a critical financial update. Let’s take a closer look at the things to watch in the shortest month of the year.

Feb. 7

Like most publicly traded companies, Disney puts out fresh financials every three months. Next week’s update will be important. It should be the most significant quarterly report for CEO Bob Iger since he returned to the helm at the House of Mouse.

Disney is facing a proxy battle with a couple of different activist investors. The showdown will take place at the annual shareholder meeting that has just been set for April 3. Without a major theatrical release until May, the Feb. 7 fiscal first-quarter report will be Disney’s last shot to defend the company’s recent lackluster performance.

Analysts aren’t holding out for much. They are targeting a 7% year-over-year decline in revenue and earnings when Disney reports on Wednesday afternoon. A recent streak of poorly received theatrical releases, cutthroat competition in the streaming space, and sluggish attendance trends at its largest theme park resort will likely weigh on the financials.

The key to the report will be how well Iger and his fellow executives sell the future. Is Disney+ making headway on its path to profitability by the end of this fiscal year? Have Disney World crowds started to come back? Can three movies in popular franchises later this year get Disney back on track at the local multiplex? There are a lot of questions that Disney will have to answer confidently to keep the stock upticks coming and the activists quiet two months later.

3 Dates for Disney Stock Investors to Circle in February

Image source: Disney.

Feb. 16

This will be a quiet month for Disney on the content front, perhaps surprising for an entertainment stock best known for its deep catalog of franchises and historical success on the big screen and in the living room. The Marvels will begin streaming on Disney+ on Feb. 7, but it fared so badly at the box office that it’s probably best not to lead with that particular direct-to-consumer release.

The documentary Space Race is premiering on Disney+ on Feb. 13, but that’s a genre that wins more critical accolades than actual viewers. Let’s go with Life & Beth, a series on Disney’s majority-owned Hulu service. Disney has been heavily promoting the bundle that includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ so any addition to any of the three services can help attraction and retention to the bundle itself.

The Amy Schumer-helmed series — in which an unexpected incident leads the titular character to revisit her past and reshape her future — debuted on Hulu two years ago. It was a critical hit, commanding a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and being quickly picked up for a second season. The second season will roll out with 10 new episodes two weeks from now.

Feb. 28

Disney World’s Epcot theme park seems to always be having a festival. The park’s current International Festival of the Arts will conclude on Feb. 19 as artists and designers take down the easels and artsy creations that are available for sale. It will take just nine days to kick off the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival on Feb. 28. It will run through late May.

Hosting a botanically themed festival for three months may not seem like a big deal, but this is about more than just topiaries trimmed to look like Disney characters alongside other displays and exhibits. Festivals have become huge moneymakers at Disney World. It’s not just about the flora and shrubbery. Disney will have food booths set up with tapas-size offerings and unique beverages all over the park. There are exclusive merchandising opportunities. There’s also the Garden Rocks series with daily concerts. The shows are included with admission, but if you want access to the best seats, you’ll want to pay up for a dinner package that includes a sit-down meal and preferred seating.

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Rick Munarriz has positions in Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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