Can Disney Stock Rebound in 2024?

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Written By Sylvia Thompson

Walt Disney has kicked off the year with a promising start, showcasing a performance that doubles the returns of the broader market.

As the year unfolds, Disney’s shares have increased by nearly 4%, a notable contrast to the 2% rise in the S&P 500.

This early success, however, must be contextualized within the timeframe — it’s just the beginning of the year, and these initial movements are not definitive indicators of the year’s overall performance.

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Disney’s Recent Struggles

Disney’s current year’s gains stand in stark contrast to its performance over the last three years. During this period, the company’s stock has consistently lagged behind the market.

Credit: DepositPhotos

This underperformance has been significant, resulting in Disney’s stock trading at less than half of its peak value from 35 months ago. To reach new heights, Disney needs to not only double its current value but also overcome the consistent pattern of underperforming against the market.

Navigating Through Tough Times

The journey hasn’t been smooth for Disney, especially considering its last notable market outperformance was back in 2020.

That year was marred by the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely impacted Disney’s core businesses — its theme parks were shut, cruise operations were halted, and film production and releases were disrupted.

The start of 2024 also poses its unique set of challenges: Disney faces a proxy battle at its shareholder meeting, the partial entry of Mickey Mouse into the public domain, and the repercussions of Hollywood strikes leading to postponed movie releases.

Signs of Resilience and Recovery

Despite the turbulent waters, there are clear indications that Disney is steadying its ship. The company’s streaming service, a significant investment, is on track to achieve profitability by autumn.

The slated theatrical releases for the year include titles from blockbuster franchises, expected to be major revenue drivers.

Moreover, Disney has revised its cost-saving estimates upward, signaling financial prudence and operational efficiency. These factors, combined with potentially fruitful outcomes from the upcoming proxy battle, suggest that Disney may be turning a corner.

Revenue and Earnings Analysis

A closer look at Disney’s financials reveals a mixed picture. The company has been posting record revenue figures, yet its stock is trading at one of the lowest revenue multiples in recent years.

The Price-to-Earnings (P/E) ratio, while not overly attractive, reflects the temporary setbacks of Disney+ and other areas where the company is actively working to improve efficiency.

Disney’s stock currently trades at 22 times this fiscal year’s projected earnings and 18 times the next year’s earnings estimate. These figures, while not indicative of a steal deal, show potential, especially considering Disney’s history of surpassing Wall Street forecasts.

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Market Perception vs. Strategic Initiatives

The market’s tepid response to Disney’s recent strategic moves might not fully capture the company’s potential.

For instance, the launch of ESPN Bet, a collaborative online sportsbook with Penn Entertainment, opens up new revenue streams.

Additionally, Disney is exploring opportunities to streamline its business by either selling off non-core assets or finding strategic partners for some media networks. These decisions could significantly impact market sentiment in the long term.

Potential Catalysts for Growth

The path ahead for Disney is lined with potential catalysts for growth. Key factors include the performance of its blockbuster movies, the recovery and expansion of theme park attendance, and strategic corporate moves that could surprise the market.

Credit: DepositPhotos

Analysts have set a relatively low bar for Disney’s revenue growth and profit increase this fiscal year. However, given the company’s evolving direct-to-consumer streaming segment and overall business recovery, these estimates could be exceeded.

The Road to Reshaping Investor Sentiments

Changing the narrative and reshaping investor perspectives is no small feat, especially for a company as scrutinized as Disney. However, Disney’s expertise in storytelling and brand management could play a crucial role in this transformation.

As 2023 progresses, it will be intriguing to see if Disney can leverage its strengths to revitalize its stock performance and regain market confidence.

The Awakening of a Storytelling Giant

In conclusion, Disney is at a crucial juncture, with early signs of recovery and multiple avenues for growth. While investor sentiment currently reflects caution, the company’s strategic moves, financial adjustments, and potential in its core businesses could lead to a significant turnaround.

As the year progresses, it will be fascinating to watch Disney’s journey, possibly culminating in a successful repositioning in the market. The question remains: can Disney, the master of narratives, effectively rewrite its own financial story in 2024? Only time will tell.

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