OFF THE WALL: Would you put money on The Happiest Place on Earth?

It all began with Mickey

Disney is now a media titan: It all began with Mickey. Disney website photo

By Rene Pastor

The Walt Disney Company has come a long way. I grew up watching Mickey Mouse and Goofy. They put up Disneyland theme parks in Florida and California. I remember taking my wife and daughter to Orlando and we had the time of our lives despite the showers. We even managed to watch Michael Jordan play the Orlando Magic, even though me and my daughter were in nosebleed seats.

The Disney company has grown into a media giant. It now owns ABC, the parks, ESPN, Pixar, and made blockbusters, such as “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 3,” which are among the top grossing movies of all time.

Disney is also one of the best stocks in the market. It owns the “Star Wars” franchise, a sure thing if you ever saw one, and that franchise alone should earn them billions worldwide in the years ahead. This is not to say they have not churned out clunkers. One need not look further than Johnny Depp’s “Lone Ranger” to see that.

But with animation genius Pixar in its pocket and the “Avenger” movies and “Star Wars” in the fold, the cash- generating ESPN dominating sports, the theme parks and ABC station – Disney may not yet be the King of Content but they are coming pretty close.

Disney also forged a deal with Netflix to bring the series based on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Lake Cage to the streaming content firm.

Normally, you don’t buy a stock near a 52-week high simply because you’re scared it would pull back because it has run up so strongly. The Disney stock is trading near $69 per share, having risen from around the $20 range barely four years ago.

The thing is the Disney stock may not be done. Given what is coming down the pike, Disney may still be a good stock to pick up. The Street’s price target is at $90. S&P’s target is around $75.

Those targets are pretty modest. You almost get the sense that the company, whose brand is identified with an iconic mouse, may have the legs to run up to more than $100 per share in the years ahead.

The Pixar movies are cutting-edge and appeal not only to kids but to adults. ESPN is not going to be overthrown in the sports arena by Fox1, which sometimes looks amateurish. The theme parks have spread in the world – from Paris to Tokyo and Hong Kong.

I don’t think you can go wrong when you will be churning out movies which have such a strong hold on the Baby Boomer generation. All those “Avenger” movies are running strong. I know: I have to catch the next edition of Thor.

It seems like Disney is running on all cylinders at this time.

‘Off the Wall’ is a weekly column on the stock market. The comments expressed here are the author’s personal views and are not meant to recommend the buying or selling of stocks.

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