Disney Hits Another Home Run

One of these days, Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) CEO Bob Iger will miss. Just not today. The family-entertainment giant trounced Wall Street's profit expectations yesterday. Disney earned $0.44 a share for the quarter that ended in March, comfortably ahead of the $0.37 per share that it had earned a year earlier, and well ahead of the $0.38 a share that analysts had banked on.

This story may sound familiar, since Disney has now smoked Wall Street's profit targets in each of Iger's first six quarters at the helm of the media bellwether.

EPS

Est.

Q2 2007

$0.44

$0.38

Q1 2007

$0.50

$0.39

Q4 2006

$0.36

$0.34

Q3 2006

$0.53

$0.44

Q2 2006

$0.37

$0.31

Q1 2006

$0.35

$0.30

Source: Thomson First Call

To be fair, Disney did fall slightly short on the top line. Revenue inched 1% higher to $8.07 billion, just below the $8.13 billion that the pros were looking for. The culprit here was a 13% dip in studio revenue. That's no big surprise, since the company faced comparisons to the international strength of The Chronicles of Narnia from last year's quarter.

The most impressive feat is that all four of Disney's subsidiaries posted double-digit percentage gains in operating income -- yes, including Disney's studio entertainment division -- despite the flattish overall revenue performance.

Disney is hitting on all cylinders, at least in terms of operating profits. Whether it's healthy theme park resort occupancy rates (88% at Disney World, 87% at Disneyland), a well-received Disney.com makeover, or selling digital downloads of its hit films and television shows through Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , the momentum is strong.

Sure, future comparisons will be tough. Disney's Ratatouille and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End will be box-office winners this summer, though it may be hard to top the one-two punch that Disney had last summer with Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. However, over in the consumer products side, Disney expects to sell more Cars merchandise this year than it did last year. That is good news for Disney, as well as Cars licensees like toy maker Mattel (NYSE: MAT  ) . Pixar properties tend to have legs (or in this case, wheels).

Can Iger keep the streak going? We'll find out in three months. At this point, it would probably be a big mistake to bet against him.

Disney is an active recommendation for Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter subscribers. To find out what other superstar stocks are helping the newsletter crush the market, take a free 30-day trial to the service today.

Mattel is a pick in the Inside Value research service.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz can usually be found at Walt Disney World. He's the one wearing the "Bob Iger Fan Club" T-shirt. He does own shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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