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UPDATE 2-Disney beats Street on higher theme parks spending, toy sales

Lisa Richwine
Thursday, 7 Nov 2013 | 5:02 PM ET

LOS ANGELES, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co reported a gain in profit that beat Wall Street expectations, boosted by higher spending by summer visitors to U.S. theme parks and increased sales of toys and other consumer products.

The media company posted diluted earnings per share of 77 cents for the quarter ended in September, according to a statement released on Thursday. That beat the 76 cents per share that was the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income for the quarter rose to $1.4 billion, a 12 percent gain from a year earlier.

Shares of Disney slipped 2.8 percent in after-hours trading to $65.30, down from their earlier $67.15 close on the New York Stock Exchange. The company's shares had gained nearly 35 percent this year before the earnings announcement.

"There's been such a run-up in this stock that people are just readjusting their numbers," said Matthew Harrigan, a media analyst with Wunderlich Securities, who has a buy rating on the stock at $77 target. "There's not much upside surprise with this company. It came in almost exactly what we expected."

Operating income at theme parks grew 15 percent to $571 million as visitors increased spending at Disney theme parks in California and Florida.

At the consumer products unit, operating income rose 30 percent to $347 million. The growth was driven by licensing of products related to movies such as "Monsters University" and "Planes" as well as products included after the acquisition of "Star Wars" producer Lucasfilm.

Disney announced the next installment in the "Star Wars" film franchise will be released on Dec. 18, 2015.