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Disney draws second upgrade in two days as Wall Street eagerly awaits streaming service launch

Key Points
  • BMO Capital Markets upgrades Walt Disney Co. to outperform and tells clients to expect 20% upside over the next 12 months.
  • "When we upgraded Disney to Market Perform from underperform in April 2018, we noted a lack of catalysts: that is now changing," Daniel Salmon tells clients.
  • Wall Street expects Disney to detail its hotly anticipated new streaming service, Disney+, at its investor day on Thursday.
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

BMO Capital Markets upgraded Walt Disney stock Wednesday as the media content giant looks to open two "Star Wars"-theme park attractions, launch its own streaming service and possibly restart its buyback program.

"When we upgraded Disney to Market Perform from underperform in April 2018, we noted a lack of catalysts: that is now changing and several potential ones are on the horizon," analyst Daniel Salmon wrote. "We believe near-term EPS cuts due to greater investment in Disney+ will only feed the Bull case by deepening the library/improving the product."

BMO also raised in price target on Disney shares to $140 from $114, about 20% upside from Tuesday's close.

Wall Street expects Disney to detail its hotly anticipated new streaming service, Disney+, at its investor day on Thursday. The company disclosed the service in November after announcing that it will pull its entire film library from Netflix in 2019 to start its own direct-to-consumer offering.

Disney+ will include new, original shows and movies, such as original Marvel and "Star Wars" series. It will also feature content from Disney's computer animation film studio Pixar. Its venture into the world of streaming has fueled competition across Wall Street with the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, all of which have jockeyed for market share and better original content.

Investors are also eager for clarity on Disney's $71 billion deal for Fox's entertainment assets, which closed at the end of March.

Disney shares rose 0.7% in premarket trading Wednesday following the BMO upgrade. Disney rose 1.6% in the prior session after brokerage Cowen upgraded the Dow component and told clients that its film pipeline should boost profits over the next few years.

Disclosure: Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, is a co-owner of Hulu.