Week's Winners and Losers: Disney Goes Solo, NYSE Goes Out
Disney (DIS) -- Winner
We're now just five months away from the new Star Wars movie, but Disney isn't done milking its $4 billion purchase of George Lucas' film company. Disney confirmed reports this week that it's developing a new movie centering around the origin story of Han Solo.
This goes beyond the final trilogy in the Star Wars series. Disney had already announced that it would be spinning off new theatrical properties from the Star Wars universe, including a movie about rebels trying to steal plans for the Death Star and an origin story for bounty hunter Boba Fett. However, now Disney is giving a new spin to one of the franchise's most significant characters. The movie won't hit theaters until 2018, but it's a good bet it will be that summer season's top draw.
New York Stock Exchange-- Loser
There's never a good time for a technical glitch, but Wednesday's three-hour trading halt on the New York Stock Exchange was pretty bad. It came at a time when confidence in the market was getting dicey.
It was also bad timing since there were other problematic glitches taking down The Wall Street Journal's website and temporarily grounding United flights.
Netflix (NFLX) -- Winner
The leading premium video streaming service has been striking deals for original movies in recent months, and this week we finally got some firm release dates.
Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts of No Nation" will come first, debuting on Oct. 16. In a unique twist, it will also hit movie theaters at the same time. Two months later we get the first of the flicks out of Adam Sandler's multi-movie deal when "The Ridiculous Six" premieres on Dec. 11. "Pee-wee's Big Holiday," with Paul Reubens reprising his signature role, will hit Netflix next March.
It remains to be seen if original movies will fare as well as original shows that have proven so magnetic for Netflix, but it could be another game changer for a dot-com darling that's already changed the game a lot. At least one Wall Street pro seems to like Netflix's prospects following the release dates: An analyst at Raymond James bumped his price target on the stock to $730 from $585.
A. Schulman (SHLM) -- Loser
There weren't a lot of companies reporting quarterly results this week, giving A. Schulman the perfect opportunity to shine. It didn't. The maker of high-performance plastic compounds and resins was once again held back as the stronger dollar resulted in sales drying up overseas. That's a pretty big deal, since international orders make up the lion's share of its business.
A. Schulman missed Wall Street's revenue and profit targets. Making matters worse, it also hosed down its forecast for the entire fiscal year. A recent capital restructuring and challenges in incorporating a recent acquisition are weighing on its performance. It's hard to shine in that scenario when you have the stage practically all to yourself.
Carnival (CCL) -- Winner
There will be a new port of call at the world's largest cruise line next year: Carnival will begin taking travelers to Cuba come May. It was granted approval by the Treasury and Commerce departments after meeting all 12 criteria for authorized travel.
Yes, there may be some backlash in Carnival's home turf of Miami, where many exiles naturally aren't warm to the communist regime. Many were imprisoned, and far more had their properties seized. It's a safe bet that the first wave of cruise passengers will have to drive past picketing protesters to go on a sailing.
However, Carnival will still be a winner here. Adding Cuba to some of its sailings should result in an uptick in traveler interest, and given that fuel costs are a big part of Carnival's operations, it's worth noting that Cuba is just 90 miles off the coast of Key West.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Netflix and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Looking for a winner for your portfolio? Check out The Motley Fool's one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.