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Amid deal talks, I’m closely watching Disney earnings: Portfolio manager

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Despite a potential deal with 21st Century Fox, Disney earnings might be dragged down by ESPN

Walt Disney Co. is set to report its quarterly earnings on Thursday after the closing bell, and AdvisorShares portfolio manager Eddy Elfenbein will be watching the report closely. Here's why.

• CNBC reported on Monday that 21st Century Fox has been in talks to sell most of the company to Disney. "We don't know if a deal will come out, but we know they're serious about it. I think we'll very likely see more deals like this over the coming years," he said Monday on CNBC's "Trading Nation. "

• Aside from the prospect of the reported deal, Disney is of great importance as a bellwether for the strength of the consumer, Elfenbein said, with their wide-reaching properties across entertainment, news, cruises and amusement parks.

• As for ESPN, which falls under Disney's umbrella, "It will be interesting this quarter to watch because they have their ESPN subsidiary, and they have not been doing well over the past few years. They really have been shedding subscribers," Elfenbein said.

• Ultimately, Disney stock is a hold right now, he said. "If you have it, keep holding on. It's a great long-term investment. For those who don't have a position, I would hold off for now, because you may see a better entry point over the next six to 18 months," he said.

Bottom line: Ahead of earnings, Elfenbein wouldn't get into Disney shares if an investor does not already hold a position in the stock.

Disclaimer: Eddy Elfenbein does not own shares of Disney.