After a solid year of gains in 2020, Walt Disneys (NYSE:DIS) stock price is on a choppy path in 2021. Interestingly, Disneys business was in a holding pattern in 2020, waiting for governments to get control of the coronavirus. However, the stock performed well as investors looked to the success of its streaming services.
However, Disneys stock price is down about 3.2% so far in 2021 and hasnt rallied even as nearly all its operations are reopened. One reason could be that investors are waiting for the results of reopenings to be reflected in the companys financial statements. That could be one catalyst that sends the stock higher, but can Disneys stock hit $200 by the end of the year? Its trading around $175 a share right now.
All of Disneys theme parks are open. Image source: Getty Images.
Disneys theme parks all had to close their turnstiles at the onset of the pandemic. It took roughly 15 months, but finally, all its theme parks are open as of June 17. Some capacity restrictions remain, but even those are receding. Fans are flocking to fill whatever space is available.
Park ticket prices are reportedly higher as well. Annual passports, a popular program at Disneys California parks, were discontinued. The offer allowed frequent visitors to reduce the cost of each visit by buying an annual pass. Still, parks are filling up, with wait times reaching several hours for some attractions. It will be interesting to see what management says about average spending per visitor at theme parks in its next quarterly report.
Hardly anyone will be surprised if The House of Mouse reports substantial increases in customer spending fueled by rising admission prices.
Disney+ surpasses 100 million subscribers. Image source: Getty Images.
The beginning of growth
During COVID-19 lockdowns, in-home entertainment was at a premium. That is, in part, what allowed Disney to conduct one of the most successful product launches in history. Disney+ was introduced in November of 2019 and 20 months later has in excess of 103.6 million subscribers.
Whats more, its likely that when Disney next reports subscriber figures, it will be higher by several million. A resurgence of COVID-19 in India, one of Disneys largest streaming markets, along with popular content releases and continued international expansion, is likely to see Disney+ reach higher subs.
The big screen is back
Movie theaters have opened again after over a year of closure to the public. The box office has long been a source of revenue and buzz for Disney. The early film releases Raya and The Last Dragon and Cruella are performing well despite capacity restrictions. That could be a good sign for upcoming titles as states continue to ease restrictions and more of the population gets vaccinated and gets comfortable with gathering in large groups again.
Several catalysts could push Disneys stock price above $200 by the end of 2021. However, whats more likely is that if you own Disney stock over the next decade or two, youre probably going to end up with more money than when you started. And that is the primary reason you should invest in Disney stock -- for the long-run returns.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.Parkev Tatevosian owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.>
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