The Walt Disney Company, which many people around the world know simply as Disney, was founded on October 16, 1923 by Walt and Roy Disney. Since then, the company has grown to boast a market cap of more than $160 billion as of December 2018.
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In 1928, the public got to see the first ever Mickey Mouse cartoon released by the studio. Over the next few years, Disney would produce and release many of the most beloved cartoon characters ever known, including Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy.
In 1937, the company premiered the first feature-length animated film in the world, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The significance of this film, for the fortunes of the company, cannot be overstated.
Disney was taking a huge financial risk by not only trying something that had not been done before but also by making the film during the Great Depression. Luckily, the gamble paid off, as Snow White would go on to become one of the company’s landmark successes and the highest grossing film in the world for quite some time.
By the time the company released the film, it had already entered the merchandising business, selling a range of items ranging from dolls and figurines to toothbrushes and books.
In 1952, the company announced its plans to build a theme park, which it completed in 1955. Four years later, Disney shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DIS. However, as was the norm at the time, the company, which had incorporated in 1938, had been issuing shares over the counter since 1946. In those days, a company had to “prove itself” before its shares could be listed on the NYSE.
In the following decades, Disney continued to build more parks across the world and to expand their cruise lines. They also started to diversify the company’s media interests.
In February 1996, the Walt Disney Company purchased Capital Cities/ABC for $19 billion, and this included the company’s 80% stake in ESPN.
Another major milestone came in 2006 when Disney acquired Pixar, an animation studio that was responsible for films such as “Finding Nemo,” “Toy Story” and “Cars.”
Marvel Entertainment became a part of the Disney family in 2009, bringing its iconic superhero line-up to the fold.
In yet another coup, Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, and in the process, they gained control of the “Star Wars” franchise.
As of the end of 2018, Disney is one of the world’s largest media conglomerates, owning a large number of theme parks and resorts, cable television networks, radio stations and even its own cruise liners. Despite all this, Disney remains true to its roots by continuing to produce thrilling new films and exciting television series.
Walt Disney Stock History
In 1940, the first Walt Disney Productions stock was issued in the form of 6% convertible preferred shares. The company’s common stock was traded over the counter prior to its debut on the New York Stock Exchange in 1957.
The investors who had purchased Disney common stock over the counter would have seen significant returns during this period. In 1949, the company was trading at $3 per share, rising to $52 per share before they were split two for one, in 1954. DIS paid its first dividend on common stock in 1956.
In 1957, the company held its IPO, with each Disney share being sold for $13.88. Since then, the company has had 8 stocks splits as follows:
- a 103 for 100 split on December 18, 1962;
- a 2 for 1 split on November 16, 1967;
- a 2 for 1 split on March 01, 1971;
- a 2 for 1 split on January 16, 1973;
- a 4 for 1 split on March 06, 1986;
- a 4 for 1 split on May 18, 1992;
- a 3 for 1 split on July 10, 1998;
- and a 1014 for 1000 split on June 13, 2007.
In 2015, Disney announced that it would increase the frequency of dividend payments from every year to semi-annually. On the 26th of July 2018, the company’s Board of Directors announced a semi-annual cash dividend of $0.84 per share; the same amount they paid out in January 2018.
To this day, Disney continues to build on its four major business segments: studio entertainment, consumer products, parks and resorts, and interactive entertainment.
How to Trade Walt Disney Stocks
Although the company has exhibited modest but steady growth from 2010 to 2018, it has not really surged higher due to a variety of factors including changes in the media and entertainment environment, particularly the eroding subscriber base at ESPN.
Still, the company is working aggressively to fix the situation, and when strong box office performance and new products are combined with the existing strong competitor performance, 2019 is certain to see volatility that plays nicely into the hands of both short-and medium-term stock CFD traders.
Here are some factors to look out for when trading Walt Disney stocks:
- Box Office Hits
In 2018, Walt Disney ruled the box office thanks to the year’s three biggest films, Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther and Incredibles 2. In fact, Avengers grossed an eye-watering $2 billion+ worldwide. This is a feat only three films have achieved before: Avatar, Titanic and Star Wars. While the future success of the Walt Disney Company will be based on the success of movies, theme parks and streaming, it remains clear that its popular movies will keep fueling it for a while yet. Investors need to keep an eye on the movies that Disney will release and their overall success and profitability.
- Competitor Performance
As of 2018, the era of on-demand TV content and video streaming has arrived, ushered in by one of the biggest names in the industry, Netflix. This move toward streaming media put a dent in traditional TV viewership numbers which Disney has been relying on through its Disney, ESPN and ABC channels. As those channels’ viewer numbers drop, Disney loses money. This is a dynamic that has persisted since the introduction of on-demand TV and video streaming, stopping DIS stock from rising much above $100 a share. The company has also suffered a rocky relationship with cord-cutters after it ended its relationship with Netflix in 2018, as the streaming company cancelled most of its Marvel titles.
- Forays into the Streaming Business
Disney made a huge pivot into the streaming video business with a strategic plan to become a major player from 2019 to 2021. Disney started out by launching streaming sports content on ESPN+ in the spring of 2018, and they are hoping to expand this service in the future. When you consider diverse popularity and strong demand for Disney’s content, it is likely to be the most serious competitor to Netflix’s domination of this space. This alone should be a catalyst for a huge rise in the value of the DIS stock.
Walt Disney Stock Trading Information:
- MT4 Symbol: #DISNEY
- Trading Hours: 14:30-20:59 GMT
- Currency: USD
- Leverage: up to
- Minimum Trade Size: 10
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