‘Monsters’ could scare up Pixar gains

Many predict Disney will buy co. outright

As Pixar prepares to lay another golden egg, some on Wall Street predict a lively week for shares of one of Hollywood’s oddest publicly traded companies.

Its latest offering, “Monsters, Inc.,” is to premier Sunday and open nationwide Nov. 2 to the greater glory of Pixar and partner Walt Disney, most industryites and investors predict. The Mouse owns a chunk of Pixar, distributes its films and splits the revenue. Pixar animation has been outperforming Disney’s at the box office and many predict Disney will — or must — eventually strike an accord with Pixar chairman-CEO Steve Jobs to buy the company outright.

Catalyst-driven

Meanwhile, Pixar stock continues to track its films — generally rising in the months prior to release of a film and easing afterwards. The animation house turns out an average of one film every two years and has amassed a five-picture library. “It’s a very catalyst-driven stock,” said Prudential Securities entertainment analyst Kathy Styponias.

Shares rose 2.14% Friday to close at $39.65. They peaked on “Monsters” hype in June, a bit earlier than usual, noted Styponias, hitting a 52-week high of $46.49. The stock followed other showbiz shares lower after Sept. 11, falling to about $32 before regaining some ground.

“Chances are the stock will rise through (week’s end) and move back down after (“Monsters” opens),” said one investor.

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