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Walt Disney Profit and Sales Jump, Outstrip Forecasts

Walt Disneysaw its shares rise in late trading Tuesday as the company reported sharply higher profit and sales that easily beat Wall Street estimates, thanks to a boost from sports network ESPN and a turnaround at its movie studio.

Cinderella's Castle
Flikr/cdharrison
Cinderella's Castle

The entertainment giant, whose operations range from television networks to theme parks, said it earned $1.33 billion, or 67 cents a share in its fiscal third quarter, up from $954 million, or 52 cents a share last year.

Disney's revenue grew to $10 billion in the period, up 16 percent from $8.596 billion.

The results handily beat a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters, which forecast that Disney would earn 58 cents a share on sales of $9.384 billion.

Disney shares were more than 1 percent higher in extended trading Tuesday. Get after-hour quotes for Walt Disney here.

The stock , a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, finished Tuesday's New York Stock Exchange session less than 1 percent higher.

Revenue at Disney's media networks division, home to cable network ESPN and broadcaster ABC, rose 19 percent to $4.7 billion.

Operating income in media networks rose 43 percent to $1.9 billion, outpacing analysts' forecasts for about $1.4 billion.

"The cable division is the business that drives this business, and Disney had an impressive quarter," said RBC Capital analyst David Bank.

Much of the company's sales gain at ESPN came from recognizing deferred revenue.

Disney's revamped film division rode the box office success of "Toy Story 3," "Iron Man 2" and "Alice in Wonderland," cost cuts and an easy comparison to year-ago results.

The studio entertainment division swung decisively into the black, chalking up a $123 million operating income versus a loss a year ago.

Profits at Disney's domestic theme parks fell due to higher costs and lower attendance.

Other media companies, including Time Warner, CBS and News Corp, have also turned in strong results for the most recent quarter.

- Reuters and AP contributed to this report.

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