Thursday night is earnings-release night for Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS). How's the House of Mouse? Will it grouse over the lousy housing economy, or rouse itself and douse the blaze to the sound of Strauss? Check out last quarter's results, then come back and ask me -- or my spouse.

What Fools say:
Here's how Disney's CAPS scoring rates against some of its peers and competitors:

Market Cap (millions)

Trailing P/E Ratio

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

News Corp (NYSE:NWS-A)

$67,417

19.5

*****

Walt Disney

$66,147

18.1

****

CBS (NYSE:CBS)

$20,524

15.9

**

Marvel Entertainment (NYSE:MVL)

$2,117

22.9

****

Cedar Fair LP (NYSE:FUN)

$1,269

23.9

**

Data taken from Motley Fool CAPS on Nov. 7.

Some of our players think Disney is in for a bumpy ride for the foreseeable future, because of macroeconomic issues. One bear thinks the stock will underperform for three to five months: "Though the dollar is weak making it possible for [tourists] to [visit] the US, I am thinking with the slow [economy] and housing issue ... the [average] person might be more interested in keeping home and job."

On the bullish side, our users point out that a weak dollar brings in foreign tourist money, and that the Disney brand name alone is worth many an investment dollar. "With such a strong name the company could almost be run by a monkey (or a Mouse..) and still outperform the S&P for ages," says one all-star CAPS player. "Well, it isn't run by monkeys, far from it."

What management says:
After beating Wall Street's earnings targets for nine consecutive quarters, CEO Bob Iger -- who is most definitely no monkey, but is certainly quite a mouse -- revealed the secret to his success: "We have again achieved strong results by focusing on doing what we do best; building high-quality creative franchises across multiple platforms and multiple markets."

What management does:
Sales growth and margin widths got a jump-start when Iger took over as CEO almost two years ago, which means great things for earnings growth. Thing have leveled off since then, though at a comfortably fat margin take -- not to mention respectable growth for a $66 billion company with 84 years of operating history and $3.4 billion in annual revenue. Also, note how the cash flow-to-revenue margin is more bountiful than the net income margin, period after period. That wasn't often the case in the last years of Michael Eisner's reign.

Margins

4/2006

7/2006

9/2006

12/2006

3/2007

6/2007

Operating

13.0%

14.1%

16.0%

17.2%

18.1%

18.6%

Net

8.3%

9.0%

9.8%

12.3%

12.9%

12.8%

FCF/Revenue

11.9%

10.9%

13.9%

13.2%

14.9%

13.3%

Growth (YOY)

4/2006

7/2006

9/2006

12/2006

3/2007

6/2007

Revenue

1.8%

3.4%

7.3%

9.4%

9.8%

9.0%

Earnings From Continuing Operations

8.1%

10.4%

31.3%

65.9%

70.2%

57.2%

All data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data reflects trailing-12-month performance for the quarters ended in the named months.

One Fool says:
Using the strict languages of mathematics and statistics, Aswath Damodaran has shown Disney to benefit from a weak dollar and remain unruffled by weak economic growth. In other words, the subprime crash and the possibility of a recession don't seem likely to hurt the Mouse very much.

The company has fresh growth plans, including a five-year, $1.1 billion plan to revamp the disappointing California Adventure park and plans to open an 800-room resort on Oahu, Hawaii. Five of the top 10 TV broadcasts last week came from Disney's ABC network, including all of the top three. ESPN's Monday Night Football crushes the competition in cable ratings, and SportsCenter often rates highly, too.

All is not well, though. The current Hollywood writers' strike won't touch sports and reality shows, so some of Disney's hits will remain intact. The movie slate shouldn't suffer much either, because the studios saw a breakdown in the talks coming from a mile away and stocked up on finished scripts for several months' worth of new projects. But Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives are another kettle of fish entirely, and might go into holiday reruns earlier than planned.

Should the strike drag on, there's no telling what the final effects on fickle consumer tastes might be. After the five-month writers' strike in 1988, the networks lost 10% of their formerly faithful viewers. Disney has less to lose from a prolonged strike than an almost pure-broadcast player like CBS, but more than cable content expert Viacom (NYSE:VIA-B).

And it matters. The media networks segment stood for 42% of Disney's revenue last quarter, and 59% of operating profits. I'd imagine Disney will try harder than most studios to resolve this matter quickly. If you're a Disney investor like me, this strike could look scarier than a full-blown collapse of the American economy.

Disney and Marvel are two of our Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations, and Cedar Fair is an Income Investor pick. Learn more about these and a few dozen other brilliant investment opportunities at the hands of our finest financial Fools, free for 30 days. Or just sign up for a free CAPS account to discover the identities of your fellow Fools who were quoted above. They might have more to tell you!

Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Disney shareholder but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is the Punxsutawney Phil of financial forecasting, though Groundhog Day was released by a competing studio.