Prudential Downgrades Disney to 'Hold'

Analyst sees another difficult year for the entertainment giant, on weakness in California theme park and ABC broadcasting

Prudential downgraded Walt Disney (DIS ) to hold from buy.

Analyst Kathy Styponais says further upside in the stock will be difficult given her expectation that Disney's operating environment will remain tough without any catalysts on the horizon. What would make her warm up to the stock, she says, is either a lower price or evidence that digital video is gaining traction for Disney.

Styponais cut the $0.23 Q3 EPS estimate to $0.21, and also trimmed the $0.83 fiscal 2001 (Sept.) EPS estimate to $0.78 due to tough sales comparisons at ABC broadcasting network, weakness in advertising, and lower attendance at Disney California Adventure. Styponais also cut the $1.06 fiscal 2002 estimate to $0.94 to reflect what she believes should be another tough year for ABC. She cut the $36 target to $34.

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