How To Buy Walt Disney (DIS) Stocks & Shares

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Worldwide entertainment group, The Walt Disney Company, reported significant growth within its streaming service division in the latest quarter, contrasting sharply with recent subscriber woes that have afflicted Netflix, the industry leader in this sphere.

More than nine million people subscribed to Disney’s online video platform in the first three months of the year – beating expectations on Wall Street – most of them to its flagship Disney+ service. Overall subscriber numbers stand at nearly 138 million (Netflix has 220 million). Disney says growth in the past six months has been stronger than expected.

Disney’s revenues for the first quarter of 2022 stood at just over £15 billion, a 23% increase on the same period last year. This was boosted by activities in the company’s amusement park business which, according to Disney, is now “operating without significant Covid-19-related capacity restrictions, such as those that were in place in the prior year”.

Profits at the company fell to £375 million, down from £720 million in 2021. Bob Chapek, Disney’s chief executive officer, said: “As we look ahead to Disney’s second century, I am confident we will continue to transform entertainment by combining extraordinary storytelling with innovative technology.”

Disney’s share price has slumped by around 30% since the start of 2022 and is down by more than 40% over the past 12 months. Investors have questioned the company’s ability to sustain growth within its subscription services and have also been concerned about how the business will fare in the face of inflationary headwinds and possible recession.

Despite recent share price struggles, Disney as a stock provides investors with access to growth from digital services. Here’s what you need to know about buying and selling Disney shares.

Note: investing in shares comes with no guarantees. When buying company shares, it’s possible to lose some, or even all, of your money.

That said, over the long term – a minimum of five years (preferably longer) – it’s possible for share-based investments to produce superior returns to those available from low interest-paying deposit accounts, once inflation has been factored in.

Why own stocks?

It’s worth asking yourself why you want to buy shares. Are you looking for capital growth, income from dividends or a combination of both? Your investment objectives will determine what type of shares you invest in, whether high-growth technology shares or more defensive companies with a reliable dividend stream.

Most investors look for sound fundamentals, including a track record of consistent earnings growth, a strong market position or products and services with future growth potential. These should provide a solid platform for future share price growth.

That said, other factors such as takeover rumours can drive up a company’s share price. Investors may also be attracted by recovery plays, with a depressed share price providing the potential for a rebound.

How to buy stock

Once you’ve decided which company to invest in, there are several steps to buying shares.

1) Open an account

Whether you’re a seasoned trader, or new to stock market-based investments, you’ll need to open an account with a regulated brokerage to buy shares in Disney.

Stockbroking is a competitive market place and services for DIY investors come in a range of guises – from online investing platforms run by some of the biggest names in financial services, to investment trading apps that work off your smartphone or tablet.

Before opening an account, bear in mind the following:

  • Keep your ultimate financial goals in mind
  • Be prepared to ride out stock market ups and downs
  • Aim to keep trading costs to a minimum
  • Remember that share investing can prompt tax charges, for example, when selling part of your portfolio, unless you use a tax-efficient wrapper such as an Individual Savings Account (ISA).

Before buying any shares, it’s worth asking yourself these questions:

  • Should I take financial advice?
  • Am I comfortable with the level of risk in question?
  • What’s my investing budget?
  • Can I afford to lose money?
  • Do I understand the company in which I’m looking to invest?
  • Am I protected if my platform provider/adviser goes out of business?

2) Where is Disney traded?

The ticker symbol for Disney is DIS. It’s listed on the New York Stock Exchange which is open for trading from 9.30am till 4pm (ET). You should be able to buy Disney through the vast majority, if not all, brokerage accounts.

Buying shares in US dollars incurs a foreign exchange fee (typically around 1%) unless you fund the purchase from a US dollar account.

Most brokerages also charge a slightly higher transaction fee for buying US, rather than UK, shares although it’s worth comparing the fees charged by different brokers if you plan to trade US shares regularly.

You will be required to complete a W-8BEN form (valid for three years) which allows you to benefit from a reduction in withholding tax for qualifying US dividends and interest from 30% to 15%.

Holding US shares also carries exposure to foreign exchange risk. If the pound strengthens against the dollar, your shares will be worth less in sterling (and vice versa).

As with UK shares, any profit on US shares will be subject to Capital Gains Tax,  unless they are held in an ISA or self-invested personal pension.

3) Do your research

To find out more about Walt Disney, visit the company’s online investor relations page.

It’s also worth comparing Disney’s valuation to other comparable energy companies. One way of doing this is to look at their relative price-earnings ratios (or P/Es) – shares trading on a high P/E have high expectations of substantial future growth.

Another useful research tool is brokers’ 12-month share price forecasts which can be found on financial websites.

4) What’s your investing strategy?

People tend to invest in one of two ways: either with a lump sum purchase, or via smaller, steadier amounts over time.

The latter method benefits from a process known as ‘pound cost averaging’, a stock market technique which helps you pay less per share on average over time in falling stock markets. Rather than waiting to build up a lump sum, it also means an investor’s money can be put to use in the market straightaway.

Note that drip-feeding an investment may sacrifice capital growth if the share price is rising and you will also pay more in share-trading fees.

5) Place an order

Once you’re ready to buy Disney shares, log in to your investing account or trading app. Type in the DIS ticker along with the number of shares you want to buy or the amount of money you’re looking to invest.

Many brokers allow you to add a ‘stop loss’ once you have bought the shares, which allows you to limit your losses should a share price fall.

6) Review Disney’s performance

Whether your share portfolio is crammed full of companies or holds only a handful of stocks, it’s vital that you review how each component is performing on a regular basis: monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Doing this gives you the opportunity to review performance and consider whether any adjustments to your holdings are required – to maintain the status quo, buy more stock, or sell existing shares.

How to sell stock

At some point, you will want to sell your holdings. To do this, log in to your investing platform, type in the DIS ticker and select the number of shares you want to sell.

Note that if you’ve made a substantial profit, you may be liable for CGT. The CGT tax-free allowance for the tax year 2022-23 is £12,300.

How to invest in Disney via a fund

Investing directly in individual stocks can be an absorbing and, hopefully, profitable experience. It may also qualify you for shareholder perks specific to the company in question.

Investing directly in companies can, however, leave you vulnerable to stock market volatility and unforeseen swings in share prices.

That’s why financial experts recommend that most people invest in a diversified mix of asset classes and funds that hold a ready-made portfolio of upwards of 50 different company shares.Being a large global corporation as well as being a major component of the US stock market, Disney is found in many global, US equity and index tracker funds.