Analyst raises Mouse rating

NEW YORK — Shares of Disney got a healthy bump Friday after the media giant reported first-quarter results that topped Wall Street’s admittedly modest expectations, prompting one high-profile analyst to raise her rating on the stock.

Disney shares ended the day up 6.6% at $22.45 on unusually heavy trading volume. Company logged pro forma net income of $433 million in its fiscal first quarter ended in December. That’s down from $529 million a year earlier, but above analysts’ projections, thanks to investment gains and lower expenses at its troubled theme-parks unit. Revenue, meanwhile, slipped 7% to just over $7 billion.

The results were rosy enough to prompt Merrill Lynch media analyst Jessica Reif Cohen to raise her midterm investment rating on the Mouse House to “buy” from “neutral,” crediting Disney management for steering the company through an ad drought and economic downturn.

Disney stock has been on a modest upswing in recent weeks but is still a great distance from its highs near $35 last summer.

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