Disney closes at lowest in nearly nine years as investors turn bearish

(Reuters) -Shares of Walt Disney fell 3.9% on Thursday, closing at their lowest level in nearly nine years, with some investors betting that a further price drop is on the cards in the next few months.

Disney stockholders are scrutinizing the company’s turnaround plan after chief Bob Iger earlier this month promised a mix of price hikes across its streaming properties, more ads and cost cuts to lift the business.

On Thursday, Disney options were busier than usual with some 321,000 contracts traded, or 1.4 times the average daily volume, according to data from options analytics firm Trade Alert.

Trading sentiment leaned toward bearish bets with put options that would guard against the stock slipping below 80 by mid-September and mid-October, and were among the most actively traded contracts.

Put options convey the right to sell shares at a fixed price in the future. Disney’s stock was also dragged by weakness in the broader market as investors turned cautious ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech later this week.

In Disney’s earnings report on Aug. 9, Iger acknowledged the entertainment company faces a “challenging environment” in the near-term and the company’s shares have dropped over 5% since the time.

Disney’s stock closed at $82.47, its lowest since October 16, 2014.

(Reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru and Saqib Ahmed in New York, additional reporting by Leroy Leo; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)


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