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Why Cramer says Disney is only in the first leg of a longer-term rally

Jim Cramer considers Disney as one of the most controversial stocks in the market.

Now that it has finally climbed back to $108, however, he said it has more room to run.

"It never should have traded down to the $80s in the first place, which is why I regard the stock's rebound back to $108 as being simply the first leg of a longer-term rally," the "Mad Money" host said.

Disney's stock peaked in the summer of 2015 at $120. Yet investor worries that cord-cutting could cause Disney's ESPN property to lose subscribers sent the stock tumbling, hitting $86 last February.

The company's fortunes have not changed, however, and the stock finally bounced back to $108 as investors realized Disney's business is actually doing quite well.

Still, the battles of opinions have continued to rage.





Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida USA
Blaine Harrington III | Getty Images
Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida USA

Last week Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to a buy from a hold and raised its price target to $134. The next day, BMO Capital downgraded it to an underperform from market perform, and cut its price target to $88 a share.

Goldman stated that ESPN headwinds could subside in the near future. The key to Disney's stock, Cramer said, is that the market already assumed that ESPN will keep losing subscribers at a rate of approximately 2 percent.

Thus, Goldman thinks the risk-reward is favorable, as the weakness is already baked into the stock.

Goldman also cited Disney's film slate for 2018 as being strong, followed by its theme parks. Additionally, Goldman also believes the company would benefit the most from President Donald Trump's proposed corporate tax cuts.

BMO Capital acknowledged the sentiment has been more positive to Disney, but said the positive turn came too early. BMO thinks the Nielsen's monthly cable subscriber numbers could be down this year, and warned to not get too excited about box office numbers for Disney's new films.

BMO also worried that Wall Street wants Disney to make a big acquisition. It also said not to get too excited about Disney's prospects in 2018 if long-time CEO Bob Iger will be stepping down in the middle of the year.

Ultimately, Cramer found merit to the arguments from Goldman and BMO. However, the stock still remains remarkably cheap at just 16 times next year's earnings estimates, which is below the average stock of the S&P 500.

"That says the risk-reward is still in your favor and the bulls are right to bet on the future," Cramer said.


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