How to Buy Disney Shares

Roberto Rivero

The Walt Disney Company is one of the most recognisable brands on the planet. Its enormous popularity, global reach and ability to constantly evolve has brought Disney considerable success in the stock market over the years.

But what about the future? Is Disney a buy in 2024? In this article, we will take a look at how Disney shares have performed in recent years, analyse the prospect of investing in Disney and demonstrate how to buy Disney shares!

A Brief History of Disney

In its century of existence, Disney has become a worldwide phenomenon, but how did it get there? Before we look at the prospect of investing in Disney and how to buy Disney shares, let’s take a brief look at a few of the highlights in the company’s history.

  • 1923: The then named Disney Brothers Studio is founded by Walt and Roy O. Disney
  • 1928: Mickey Mouse makes his screen debut and, almost 100 years later, remains the company’s most well-known character and mascot
  • 1937: Disney’s first feature length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is released and quickly becomes the highest-grossing film up to that point in time
  • 1940: Disney debuts on the New York Stock Exchange via an Initial Public Offering
  • 1955: Disneyland opens in California and, within two years, becomes a more popular destination than the Grand Canyon
  • 1991: Disney enters the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), where it remains today
  • 1995: Disney acquires Capital Cities/ABC Inc. which sees the company obtain network ABC, an 80% stake of network ESPN, as well as stakes in Lifetime Television, DIC Entertainment and A&E Television Networks
  • 1998: Disney World opens, the world’s largest theme park
  • 2019: Disney acquires 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion – the company’s largest ever acquisition
  • 2021: Disney launches Disney+ streaming service

Disney Earnings

A company doesn’t survive 100 years unless it’s doing something right. But, remember, if you decide to buy shares in Disney you are buying a portion of the company. The future success of your investment, therefore, will depend on the future success of the company.

So, before making any decision, it’s important to do your research and, in particular, analyse how Disney has performed recently.

In the table below, we have highlighted a few of the key indicators from the first nine months of Disney’s fiscal year 2023, which were not the most impressive. We will explore in more detail what’s behind the numbers later, when we look at the question ‘should I invest in Disney’.

Disney Earnings
  Nine Months Ended 1 July 2023 Nine Months Ended 2 July 2022 % Change
Revenue $67,657 million $62,572 million 8%
Operating Income $3,762 million $4,909 million -23%
Earnings per Share (EPS) $1.14 $1.66 -31%

Source: Walt Disney Company – Third Quarter and Nine Months Earnings for Fiscal 2023.

Disney Share Price Analysis

So, how has Disney performed in the stock market recently? Let’s take a look at the evolution of the Disney share price over the last few years.

Unsurprisingly, Disney stock plummeted at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, as tourism dried up and the Magic Kingdom were forced to close their doors to visitors.

However, share price soon began to soar thanks to the unexpected speed at which streaming service, Disney+, attracted subscribers. Pandemic-era investors were impressed by this subscription growth and the future potential revenue these subscribers represented.

As investors continued to drive up the Disney share price, it hit an all-time high in March 2021. But shortly after investor interest began to cool.

Real-time earnings weren’t supporting the lofty stock market valuations and, as the global economic outlook worsened, investors became increasingly focussed on present profitability rather than potential profitability in the future.

Consequently, Disney’s share price tumbled falling for the rest of 2021 and throughout 2022. At the time of writing, the Disney share price is 59% below its all-time high. Is this a fair valuation? Or is it an opportunity to buy Disney shares at a cheap price? Is Disney a buy in 2024?

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Should I Invest in Disney?

As we saw in the last section, Disney’s share price struggled in 2023. After this steep drop in price, is Disney a buy? Or is a stock to avoid? In the following sections, we will examine both the bull and bear case for Disney shares in 2024.

The Bear Case

Before we look at the positive, let’s look at the negative. The biggest concern for most considering investing in Disney stock is likely to be streaming platform Disney+, which may seem strange given that, just a few years ago, it was viewed by many as one of the company’s most promising attributes.

The launch of Disney+ very conveniently coincided with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the rolling out of social restrictions around the world. As people were stuck at home with nothing to do, subscriptions to the nascent streaming service boomed.

At its launch in November 2019, Disney had set themselves a target of 60-90 million subscribers by the year 2024. Within just one year, this number had exceeded 73 million.

However, a few years later and, although subscription numbers remain high, profitability is a big issue. It turns out that creating a profitable streaming service is not so straightforward, and it’s not just Disney which is learning this the hard way.

It’s not necessarily the fact that Disney+ is loss-making which is problematic, but the magnitude of the losses. In the first nine months of fiscal year 2023, Disney’s Direct to Consumer (DTC) division, which houses Disney+, reported an operating loss of $2.2 billion. In fiscal year 2022, its losses were $4 billion and, in the previous fiscal year, $1.7 billion.

Unfortunately, these big losses not only come at a time when operating costs are rising, but also when revenue and operating income generated from Disney’s linear (i.e. cable) television services are struggling, as consumers “cut the cord” and pivot towards streaming.

The Bull Case

Okay, so we looked at the bad, but what about the bull case for investing in Disney?

Disney expects its streaming service to achieve profitability in 2024 and, whilst this is far from being certain, the losses do appear to be moving in the right direction. In the third quarter of fiscal year 2023, the operating loss from DTC more than halved, falling from $1.1 billion to $500 million. Still not great, but better.

Management have been successfully reducing costs whilst hiking prices and expanding its ad-supported streaming tier in an attempt to stabilise the division and reach its goal on profitability.

Although its Media and Entertainment division is struggling and weighing on Disney’s overall earnings, its theme parks are thriving. Revenue and operating income from the company’s Parks, Experiences and Products division jumped 17% and 20% respectively in the first nine months ended 1 July 2023.

Disney’s ability to generate large amounts of cash from this division has allowed it to weather its losses from streaming on its path to profitability.

A further consideration is the announcement earlier this year that, after being suspended during the pandemic, Disney intends to reinstate its dividend before the end of 2023. Whilst this move is likely to mostly be about appeasing shareholders, it signals confidence in management’s ability to successfully turn things around. If they didn’t believe they could, it is unlikely they would incur this cost.

So it is not all doom and gloom at Disney, but buying Disney stock at the moment is certainly not for the faint hearted. If there is indeed a turnaround, it will not be quick, and until Disney is able to find a way for its streaming to be consistently profitable, share price turbulence could continue.

How to Buy Disney Shares

If you believe that investing in Disney is the right decision for you, you will be pleased to hear that, with an Invest.MT5 account from Admirals, you can buy shares in Disney and over 4,500 other listed companies from around the world.

In order to learn how to buy Disney shares, follow these simple steps:

  • Open an Invest.MT5 account and log in to the Dashboard
  • Find your account details and click ‘Invest’ to open the MetaTrader WebTrader
  • Search for the Disney stock symbol and open the price chart
  • Click ‘New Order’ at the top of the screen, enter the number of Disney shares you want to purchase and hit ‘Buy’ to send your order to the market!
Depicted: Admirals MetaTrader WebTrader – Disney H1. Date Captured: 1 September 2023. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

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Investing in Disney FAQ

When Did Disney Stock Go Public?

Disney went public via an Initial Public Offering on 2 April 1940.

What Is the Highest Price Disney Stock Has Ever Been?

Disney shares achieved an all-time high on 3 August 2021, closing at $201.91 a share.

How Many Shares of Disney Stock Are There?

As of the 10 February 2023, there were 1,826,785,421 shares of Disney common stock outstanding.

When Will Disney Dividend Return?

After paying a dividend for 40 consecutive years, Disney suspended dividend payments in 2020 in response to downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Disney have announced they intend to resume dividend payments by the end of calendar year 2023.

When Will Disney Stock Split?

Since its IPO in 1940, Disney has split its stock 8 times, the most recent of which was on 13 June 2007. This was a 1,014 for 1,000 split, meaning that each 1,000 Disney shares owned pre-split became 1,014 share post-split. At the time of writing there are no public plans for a new Disney stock split.

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The given data provides additional information regarding all analysis, estimates, prognosis, forecasts, market reviews, weekly outlooks or other similar assessments or information (hereinafter “Analysis”) published on the websites of Admirals investment firms operating under the Admirals trademark (hereinafter “Admirals”) Before making any investment decisions please pay close attention to the following:

  • This is a marketing communication. The content is published for informative purposes only and is in no way to be construed as investment advice or recommendation. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research, and that it is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.
  • Any investment decision is made by each client alone whereas Admirals shall not be responsible for any loss or damage arising from any such decision, whether or not based on the content.
  • With view to protecting the interests of our clients and the objectivity of the Analysis, Admirals has established relevant internal procedures for prevention and management of conflicts of interest.
  • The Analysis is prepared by an independent analyst Roberto Rivero, Freelance Contributor (hereinafter "Author") based on personal estimations.
  • Whilst every reasonable effort is taken to ensure that all sources of the content are reliable and that all information is presented, as much as possible, in an understandable, timely, precise and complete manner, Admirals does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained within the Analysis.
  • Any kind of past or modeled performance of financial instruments indicated within the content should not be construed as an express or implied promise, guarantee or implication by Admirals for any future performance. The value of the financial instrument may both increase and decrease and the preservation of the asset value is not guaranteed.
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