Walt Disney Co gave analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein “a recent sleepless night” that ended in “Epiphany”. The stock is overvalued, and Bernstein chose today, right after the Fed confused the market with its rate hike timing talk, to reveal that to the world at large. Todd Juenger, who was the lead author on the report, downgraded Disney stock to Market Perform with a price target of $114.
Wall Street took the downgrade hard. Shares in Walt Disney Co are down by more than 5 percent at time of writing. They’re now selling for less than $101, the lowest level they’ve seen since February of this year.
The strong gains in Walt Disney Co in recent years, and the newfound belief that the firm’s pay TV segment is in trouble, has made a rocky market downright deadly for those with Disney shares.
Disney shares get shocked on TV crisis
Mr. Juenger epiphany linked a trend that has been changing the face of the market in recent years with Walt Disney Co in a report published on Thursday.
He said that the change to streaming is going to hurt any media business that relies on ads. More than that, the “massive secular upheaval,” in the TV market “means increasing the risk applied to an increased cord-cutting scenario. Which, in practice, means lower multiples.”
In the June earnings report from Walt Disney Co the firm showed pressure on affiliate fees for ESPN. The largest sports network in the US was the biggest problem for investors in the report which sent shares in the firm spinning right after it was published.
Cramer says keep your eyes on Walt Disney Co
On CNBC on thursday Jim Cramer said that Walt Disney Co was the stock to watch for traders looking to get a feel for the direction the market is headed. “I read through that downgrade multiple times. It reads horribly, except for the fact that [the analyst] is not negative on the earnings,” he said on Squawk on the Street earlier today.
“This is really what’s wrong with the market” he added, “We want to pay less for even the highest-quality companies.” It’s the multiple that came down in the Bernstein report today rather than the earnings outlook.
That’s an interesting take on the market in the face of a Fed rate hike. Bernstein is pretty clear on its outlook for Walt Disney Co and the rest of the Pay TV market, however. The firm says it now agrees with the market mindset and “fast-forward to the inevitable conclusion and start valuing these businesses as if they are declining assets.”
That, along with a skittish feeling across Wall Street, is what’s happening to Walt Disney Co today, and why the stock has lost more than 16 percent of its value in the last month.