Disney shares fall on growth concerns after results

Fri Nov 9, 2012 10:37am EST

A view of the water tower at The Walt Disney Co., featuring the character Mickey Mouse, is seen at the company's headquarters in Burbank, California, February 7, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

A view of the water tower at The Walt Disney Co., featuring the character Mickey Mouse, is seen at the company's headquarters in Burbank, California, February 7, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

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(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) shares fell more than 6 percent on Friday, a day after the media company warned of challenges that would pressure results in the current quarter, prompting at least one analyst to downgrade the stock.

Disney's chief financial officer, Jay Rasulo, told analysts on a conference call late on Thursday that rising sports costs and home video sales declines would hurt the company's fiscal first-quarter results from October to December.

After the market close on Thursday, Disney posted net income for the quarter that ended in September of $1.2 billion, up 14 percent from the year-ago period.

Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible said in a research note on Friday that Disney's advertising growth was slowing and would hamper near-term earnings growth. Wible downgraded his rating on the stock to "neutral" from "buy."

Other analysts from Lazard Capital Markets, Nomura and Wells Fargo also trimmed their target prices on Disney's shares following the quarterly results.

"(The first quarter) is really messy in our view," said Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker in a research note.

CEO Bob Iger said on Thursday that Disney was entering a "transition year" after making investments in projects such as the "Cars Land" expansion at Disneyland Resort in California and a new cruise ship that launched this year. The company is moving from "investment mode" into "a more compelling growth mode," he said.

Disney also plans to stimulate growth through its $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm, announced on October 30, and plans for three new "Star Wars" films starting in 2015.

Disney shares were down 6.4 percent at $46.86 on Friday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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