With an 11 percent slide this year, Disney is currently the worst performer in the Dow Jones industrial average. If that is still true come New Year's Eve, 2016 will be the first year in which Disney is the biggest laggard among the Dow's 30 components, going back to its introduction to the index in 1991.
"This is a great company, but now is not the best time to own it," FBR Capital Markets research analyst Barton Crockett said Thursday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."
He sees earnings growing by just 2 to 3 percent in 2016 "against the backdrop of a wet blanket secular headwind for the group," Crockett said, referring to slow growth in cable affiliate fees and concern about cord-cutting. The biggest concern for Disney remains the outlook for ESPN, a network that generates high fees from millions of cable subscribers and is seen as particularly vulnerable from customers' predilections to reduce their cable costs.
After bouncing back strongly from its mid-February lows along with the rest of the market, Disney shares got crushed in May after the company reported its first earnings miss in five years.
While Crockett's target is 15 percent above Friday's opening price for Disney shares, he maintains a market perform rating on the company, and warned Thursday that "we think it's difficult for the stock to really show you much love this year."
From a chart-based perspective, Oppenheimer's head of technical analysis, Ari Wald, says that the stock is nearing a support level of $90, and is primed to break below it, based on its "descending triangle pattern."
This pattern "obviously carries bearish implications here, so we would stay away," Wald said Thursday on "Power Lunch."
Disney has underperformed the Dow by more than 16 percent this year.