Disney Earns Its Ears

Short Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) at your own risk.

The family entertainment giant barreled past Wall Street's profit targets, just as it has done in every single quarter since CEO Bob Iger took over.

Last night's quarter was a beauty. Earnings from continuing operations climbed 23% to $1.1 billion, or $0.58 a share. Revenue inched 10% higher to $8.7 billion, with all four of Disney's operating segments posting year-over-year gains.

Analyst guesstimates were looking for a profit of just $0.51 a share on $8.5 billion in revenue. Will they ever learn? Skeptics have been mowed down before, and they'll be humbled again.

Wall Street was nervously anticipating the company's theme park numbers, and they were brilliant. Revenue and operating profits rose 11% and 33%, respectively. Then again, with Great Wolf Resorts (Nasdaq: WOLF  ) and Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN  ) trouncing expectations just hours before Disney's report, was there any doubt that Disney would do well? Great Wolf and Cedar Fair are good proxies of domestic demand, and then you have to tack on the strength of international visitors, given the attractiveness of the free-falling dollar.

The company's media networks were also a concern. Disney's cable properties, like ESPN and the Disney Channel, would surely do well, since they're mostly subscriber-based (like Viacom (NYSE: VIA  ) and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) ), but would the ad-heavy and strike-shortened ABC bring down the segment? No way.

As good as things were, there's always the hope that things will get better. On the theatrical front, Disney has The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian opening next week, with Pixar's Wall-E rolling in next month.

Either way, until Iger proves mortal, it's a sucker's bet to bet against Disney.

For more Foolishness:

Disney and Time Warner are active recommendations for Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter subscribers. You don't need a single Disney Dollar to try the service with a 30-day free trial offer. Cedar Fair is an Income Investor pick.

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 and units in Cedar Fair. 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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