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Disney Beats Earnings Forecast; Shares Rise Slightly

Walt Disneytopped analysts' expectations for its quarterly profit and revenue on Thursday as advertising held strong at its ESPN sports channel and other media networks, sending shares higher after the closing bell.

Cinderella's Castle
Flikr/cdharrison
Cinderella's Castle

The company, which also operates the ABC network and a movie studio, reported earnings excluding items of 59 cents per share in its fiscal fourth quarter, an increase from 45 cents a share a year earlier.

Net income for the quarter rose 30 percent to $1.09 billion from $835 million.

Shares of the company rose 1 percent after the earnings announcement. (Click here to get the latest after-hour quote for Walt Disney.)

Revenue increased 7 percent to $10.43 billion, up from $9.74 billion a year ago.

Analysts had expected the company to post earnings of 54 cents a share on revenue of $10.36 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Disney had been expected to show stronger results at media networks after rivals including Comcast, Time Warner and News Corp reported gains, propelled by a healthy advertising market.

In an interview with CNBC after the earnings report, Disney CEO Bob Iger said advertising, which makes up 19 percent of Disney's total revenue, had "slowed a bit the last few weeks across the board but has been relatively strong this quarter" compared with the same period a year ago.

He also said no decision will be made on how much of a dividend Disney will pay for this year until the next board meeting in New York in a few weeks.

On Oct. 7, Disney announced a plan for Iger to step down as the company's CEO in March 2015. In March, Iger will also become chairman of the company's board, a position he will hold until June 2016.

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