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Earnings Preview: Disney 1Q seen down

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 3:01am
The Associated Press

Family entertainment giant The Walt Disney Co., which just absorbed Marvel Entertainment Inc., reports earnings for its fiscal first quarter after the market closes Tuesday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The advertising recovery will likely help Disney's ABC and ESPN television networks, but the question is by how much.

Disney's movie studio, which has been faltering lately, will likely cause a drag on earnings. The company overhauled management at the department in October and recently closed offices at niche label Miramax Films, which some competitors are interested in buying.

Consumer sentiment should be reflected in the performance of the company's theme parks. It is unclear how soon Disney will be able to wean itself off discounting to keep attendance up.

Also, Disney executives may discuss the possibility of entering into a deal to provide movies and TV shows to Apple Inc.'s iPad, which may help studio earnings down the road. Apple CEO Steve Jobs remains Disney's largest shareholder since the entertainment company bought Pixar in 2006.

WHY IT MATTERS: Disney is closely tethered to consumer psychology because the brand is well known around the world. It sells products ranging from movies and books to clothes and toys. A good quarter could bolster confidence in the broader economy.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Disney to post 39 cents of adjusted earnings per share on sales of $9.62 billion.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: Disney reported an adjusted profit of 41 cents per share on revenue of $9.60 billion.

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