Disney Is DJIA's Worst Performing Stock, Down More Than 9%

Paul Ausick

This year has not been kind to Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS). The Mouse House’s stock price has dropped 9.39% as of Friday’s closing bell and is one of just five Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks to post a share price decline for the year to date.

Despite investors’ coolness to the stock, analysts have been mostly upbeat, pointing out the company’s strong asset base. Merrill Lynch, for example, is positively buoyant:

We believe Disney shares will outperform peers given their exposure to accelerating Parks & Resorts fundamentals, a surge in free cash flow (aided by the end of a major investment cycle), an increasingly positive Studio outlook, steady growth at Media Networks and improving profitability at Interactive.

Last quarter’s media segment revenues, which includes ESPN, were flat and the company has been bleeding subscribers to the sports network. According to a report from Sports Illustrated, between 2013 and 2015, Disney has lost about 7 million subscribers and about $1.3 billion in revenues.

Disney moved to stop the bleeding by investing $1 billion in video streaming company BAMTech, along with acquiring the right to purchase all the company. An analyst at Hilliard Lyons said that the company’s strategic plan includes “streaming of complementary ESPN-branded content, and potentially other content from Disney’s many brands and businesses.”

That may happen, but it will take time and more investment. Until then, investors are having no trouble resisting Disney’s 1.48% dividend yield, the third-lowest among the 30 Dow stocks.

Shares closed at $95.21 on Friday, down nearly 0.4% on the day in a 52-week range of $86.45 to $120.65. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $109.52.