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Analysts mixed on Disney

Disney investors received mixed signals from Wall Street on the heels of its second-quarter earnings.

Analysts broke into two camps over the results, either upgrading the stock or signaling a hold.

The company posted better-than-expected profits on Monday, despite a $ 44 million loss from its stake in Euro Disney. At mid-day, Disney was down $ 1.50 at $ 39.50 on a volume of 555,500 shares, compared with average daily volume of 1.2 million. It closed at $ 40.875, down 12.5 cents on a volume of 2.4 million shares traded.

In the buy camp were Chris Dixon of PaineWebber and Jeffrey Logsdon at Seidler Amdec. Dixon anticipates shorter release times between Disney’s animated features starting next year. Recent earnings have been fueled by the tremendous success of “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Logsdon contended that the market had overreacted to the Euro Disney loss and its expected blood-letting for the remainder of the year. Moreover, he cited a strong summer film slate for positive numbers.

On the downside were Merrill Lynch and Salomon Bros.’ Margo Vignola. Vignola noted that Euro Disney may require a cash investment and there may be less traffic at Disney’s U.S. parks in the second half.

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