Summer's almost here. So, when it comes to looking at the strength of the Walt Disney Company, it's natural to zero in on the media conglomerate's domestic theme parks and their potential to lure vacationers this year. Some of the company's closest observers insist the specter of looming recession, consumer confidence at a 16-year low, and increasing gas prices all spell doom for Disney's magic kingdom.
But Wall Street's fixation on Disney's theme parks and their possible exposure to economic erosion could be the key to healthy gains for investors, say some analysts. "We believe the market's singular focus on Disney's domestic parks could create an attractive entry opportunity for longer-term investors," wrote Bernstein Research analyst, Michael Nathanson in a recent note to clients. Nathanson rates Disney a "market-perform" with a year-end price target of $37, some 12% above Monday's closing price of around $33.