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Josh Brown: Disney screwed if they don't make this move

  • Disney upgraded to Outperform at Wells Fargo, firm sees 13% upside potential
  • Upcoming internet video streaming service a positive catalyst
  • Trader Josh Brown says Disney has to move into direct-to-consumer or they are "screwed"

Disney has trailed the broader market this year, with shares falling almost three percent compared to the S&P 500's nearly ten percent gain.

But according to Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker, there may yet be magic in the stock.

She upgraded the stock to "outperform" on Tuesday, noting that Disney's direct-to-consumer streaming service, which the media giant announced last month, could lead to meaningful upside.

Ryvicker also believes the current stock prices offers an attractive entry point for investors. At 15X forward earnings, Disney trades at a discount relative to the market.

"Halftime Report" trader Pete Najarian has owned Disney for a number of years, and he believes the media giant's move into direct-to-consumer streaming could push the stock to $120.

"They have brought the competition...streaming is where everyone is moving to. Disney has been very slow, but now I think that's starting to accelerate which is why I'm even more bullish," Najarian said.

Trading at 15X forward earnings, Disney might also be on the verge of a break out. Najarian notes that "this has been the level in the past where it's been a base and it starts to move to the upside."

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse stands in front of the Cinderella's castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Matt Stroshane | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse stands in front of the Cinderella's castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Ritholtz Wealth Management CEO Josh Brown believes the streaming platform is a step in the direction, but he argues that it shouldn't really be seen as an innovative move -- but rather one of necessity.

"Let's not look at it like they [Disney] are playing offense. This is defense. They are screwed if they don't do it."

He is positive on the stock, but said not to "expect fireworks...This is not going to be a name that all of a sudden there's a streaming boom and Disney stock goes up because of it. They are playing defense."

Joe Terranova and Jim Lebenthal are staying on the sidelines for now since they believe there are better entry opportunities.

The stock "seems to be stuck between $100 and $105," Terranova said on Tuesday's "Halftime Report."

While he thinks 2018 will be a strong year for Disney at the box office and at its theme parks, he's not getting in the name until there are "some consecutive quarters of earnings acceleration."

Lebenthal's key level for the stock is $95.

He's watching two possible negatives that could pressure the stock in the near-term -- the streaming service could potentially be cannibalistic for Disney's broadcast subscribers, and 2018 earnings estimates have come down.

"I would like to get this [Disney] as a gift. If the market has a sell-off and you get this at $95...that would be a great price to get it at. I just don't think you have to chase it here," he said.

Trader Disclosure: Pete Najarian owns Disney.