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Why Walt Disney Stock Just Dropped 6%

By Rich Smith - Mar 5, 2020 at 1:31PM

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It's coronavirus. Again.

What happened

Shares of The Walt Disney Company (DIS 1.84%) joined in today's stock market rout, falling 5.8% through 1:10 p.m. EST.

So what

Most likely, Disney shares are down for the same reason every other stock on Earth (seemingly) is down today: the COVID-19 coronavirus.

3-D rendering of scary-looking viruses on a red background.

Image source: Getty Images.

According to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO), confirmed cases of COVID-19 passed 95,000 today, with 3,280 deaths reported and 79 countries reporting confirmed infections. As a company that makes much of its money from getting people around the world to travel and visit its theme parks, this is not good news for Walt Disney.

There are other aspects to Disney's business, of course, and other wrinkles to contend with. For example, yesterday, CNN reported that coronavirus in China could crimp supply lines of key Disney toys, such as "Baby Yoda" dolls, hurting the company's revenue stream from licensing fees for its characters this Christmas.

Now what

If you ask me, the primary reason Disney stock is down today is coronavirus, plain and simple. And until we see positive proof in the WHO data that this contagion has been contained, I don't expect the news for this otherwise blue chip stock to get much better.

With Disney shares still trading at a not-cheap 21 times trailing earnings and looking even more expensive on a forward basis due to worries about what the future might hold for it, I see no compelling need to rush forward and attempt to catch this falling knife just yet.

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