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How Walt Disney Shares Gained 17% in November

What happened

Shares of Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) rose 16.7% in November 2019, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The gains started with a strong earnings report, followed by an impressive launch of Disney's brand-new video-streaming service.

So what

Disney's fourth-quarter sales grew 34% year over year, landing at $19.1 billion. This boost includes contributions from Twenty-First Century Fox, which the House of Mouse acquired in March 2019. Adjusted earnings fell 28% to $1.07 per diluted share. The analyst consensus had been calling for earnings near $0.95 per share on revenues in the neighborhood of $19.0 billion.

The next week marked the premiere for the Disney+ streaming video service. The launch saw some technical hiccups, but subscribers flocked to the new platform by the millions. Just one day after the launch, Disney+ had amassed more than 10 million accounts. Disney's stock took another big leap on the news.

Image source: Walt Disney.

Now what

We Disney investors have enjoyed a 31% return over the last 52 weeks, driven by the Fox buyout and the Disney+ launch. The streaming platform hit the market with a ready-made hit on hand in The Mandalorian, a stand-alone series in the Star Wars universe featuring strong storytelling and popular characters like the titular bounty hunter and the meme-sparking Baby Yoda.

The Disney+ launch was a serious success, proving that Disney has the name-brand power required to let the new service hit the ground running. For the record, it took Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) 12 years to reach 10 million subscribers, though that's an apples-to-coconuts type of comparison. Netflix reached that milestone for a DVD-mailing video rental service that offered a small library of video-streaming titles as a free bonus at the time. When the streaming service was separated from the DVD platform with separate subscription fees for each service, three years later, Netflix had 23.5 million streaming subscribers to its name from day one.

So Disney is doing well in the streaming market, and I can't wait to see how Disney+ develops over the next couple of years. November's solid stock price gains were motivated by robust financial results and a strong Disney+ premiere. It's safe to say that Disney remains a strong buy even after the 17% jump in November.

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Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix and Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short January 2020 $130 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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