ARK Invest stock-savant Cathie Wood loves disruptive growth stocks, but she's apparently not afraid to sift through blue chips to find a red-hot investment. Wood added to her existing Walt Disney (DIS -0.01%) investment, picking up shares of the media giant on Monday and again on Thursday for her ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW -0.93%).
Disney isn't one of the fund's largest holdings, and she didn't even initiate her position until the springtime of this year. However, you have to like Wood's timing. There's a lot going right for the House of Mouse these days, and things are about to get even better.
After back-to-back years of beefy double-digit percentage gains, Disney stock has been marching in place in 2021. The shares are roughly where they are when the calendar year began, even though Disney is finally getting close to firing on all cylinders.
The stock took off between late 2019 through 2020 on the surprisingly strong initial success of Disney+, but most of the entertainment bellwether's segments were in shambles as the pandemic hit. Disney's iconic theme parks were shuttered for months, reopening with stringent crowd controls in a world of travel restrictions.
Its movie studio had to deal with closed multiplexes, and even when the film-house projectors started firing up again, folks were fine with staying home. Cruise ships were naturally off the menu in a pandemic. Even its media networks were a mixed bag, as folks were watching more TV at home but advertisers weren't so keen on paying up to reach consumers.
It's a whole new world, as Aladdin and Jasmine would sing. Disney's theme-parks segment surprised investors by returning to profitability in its latest quarter. In two weeks, it kicks off an 18-month celebration at Disney World -- its most visited resort -- as the popular Florida destination turns 50.
Its cruise ships finally began sailing again this summer. Disney's Black Widow is the top draw in domestic ticket sales in 2021, an honor that the studio has claimed in 8 of the past 10 years. Advertisers are back on ABC. Shoppers are spending money on Disney's consumer products.
Disney is back, and it could be back even better than ever. The company's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings broke the Labor Day weekend record for domestic ticket sales earlier this month, but it also set the stage for the media giant to strike the right balance between theatrical distribution and the new streaming mother lode. Just when you think you've seen the best that Marvel has to offer in terms of franchises, Disney finds a way to wring out cinematic gold with Shang-Chi and -- come November -- Eternals.
Annual passes to Disneyland and Disney World just got more expensive, and the world's leading theme-park operator is about to introduce premium pricing for access to rebranded expedited attraction queues that will turn its cash cows into even more potent money machines. Next summer, Disney will add a fifth cruise ship to its growing fleet.
In short, Disney is just getting started. The year-over-year comparisons may seem easy right now. The 45% surge in revenue that the market darling of media stocks posted in its latest quarter last month follows pandemic-depressed results from a year earlier. However, this is all a springboard to even bigger growth in the coming months.
It's frankly surprising that you can pick up shares of Disney for little more than the $181.81 price point it was at the end of December. ARK Invest's Wood seems to get it, and if she's right, other investors will start to get it, too.