Mouse shares sink 5% on prediction

Analyst foresees lower than expected profits

NEW YORK — Shares of beleaguered entertainment giant Walt Disney sank more than 5% Thursday after a prominent Wall Streeter reiterated his prediction that the company will post a lower profit in the current quarter than most analysts think.

Goldman Sachs media analyst Richard Greenfield said he expects the Mouse House to post a profit of 9¢ a share — about 25% lower than the average view on the Street — for its fiscal second quarter, which ends in March. If that view pans out, it would mark a 65% decline from a year earlier.

Greenfield cited shifts in the timing of some of Disney’s theatrical and video releases, coupled with continued weakness at ABC as it competes with NBC’s high-rated Olympic coverage, as reasons for concern in the second quarter.

“We haven’t changed our full-year estimate, but it’s always a little concerning when you see an increased reliance on the second half of the year,” he told Daily Variety. Greenfield predicted Disney will earn 60¢ a share for the year.

Disney has fallen 34% from its 52-week high of $35 achieved last June. But the conglom has rebounded off its lows in recent weeks as investors look forward to better performance over the long term, once the economy and the ad-market improve.

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