Shares of Disney (NYSE:DIS) are hitting all-time highs this month, but the party could just be getting started. Within the past week, two different analysts have slapped what is now a Street-high price target of $175 on the media giant, translating into another 17% of upside in the coming year.
Consumer Edge Research is the latest Wall Street pro to wax bullish on Disney, initiating coverage on Monday with an "overweight" stock rating and a price goal of $175. Six days earlier, it was Bernie McTernan at Rosenblatt lifting his price target on the shares from $170 to $175. It's the cool place to be these days, and inevitably a gateway drug to $200 if things continue to go well for the House of Mouse. Let's get into why there's a good chance Disney stock will hit $175 in 2020.
Rosenblatt's McTernan calls Disney his top stop pick in media, largely based on the runaway success of Disney+. The premium streaming video service topped 10 million subscribers a day after its Nov. 12 launch, and McTernan thinks Disney is just getting started. He sees the subscriber base more than doubling to 21 million by the end of next month, naturally buoyed by the holidays. His target is a pretty ambitious 35 million subscribers by the end of the current fiscal year that ends in September.
Disney+ has been a big reason for the stock's gains this year. Investors are seemingly setting aside concerns about shrinking ESPN subscribers, back-to-back quarters of Disneyland attendance declines, and bumpy integration issues with its Fox assets acquisition that closed earlier in 2019. Disney's ambitiously priced streaming service already has a hit out of the gate in The Mandalorian, and it's a textbook example of how the media behemoth's ecosystem excels when it has a hit on its hands. The success of the Star Wars-themed show will ideally inspire visits to Disney theme parks on either coast to check out its recently opened 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge expansion. There is now a race to get "Baby Yoda" merchandise from the series in stores to take advantage of the holiday shopping season.
It won't be just Disney+ pushing the shares higher in the year ahead if the stock is to hit its new $175 price target. Disneyland attendance will have to turn positive. Its hit-driven studio will have to find ways to keep the hits coming after the ninth and final installment of the main Star Wars saga hits the corner multiplex next month. The cord cutting will continue to weigh on Disney's media properties, but if it can make a chunk of that back through Disney+, investors will cheer a company that is more in control of its own destiny.
One might argue that all bets are off we tumble into the next recession in 2020, but this is where Disney+ makes the media giant better suited to withstand the economic hiccups that have rocked things in the past. Disney stock hasn't been higher than it's been this month, but Disney itself has also never been this smart. The stock should have no problem hitting $175 next year, but the climb up won't be a straight line.