Disney shares hit all-time high on earnings

@CNNMoneyInvest May 9, 2012: 11:27 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- To infinity -- or at least, $45 -- and beyond!

Shares of Walt Disney Co. (DIS, Fortune 500) passed their all-time high after the company reported strong earnings growth Tuesday, driven by rising revenues at ESPN, and promised to capitalize on the runaway success of "The Avengers."

Shares were as high as $45.80 in morning trading on Wednesday, before slipping back to $45 even, up about 1.5%.

Despite stumbling with "John Carter," the sci-fi epic that lost the company $200 million, Disney reported earnings for the first three months of the year that surged 18% versus 2011.

"The Avengers" smashed box-office records in its debut this past weekend, grossing more than $207 million and shaping up to be Disney's highest-earning film ever. Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a call with analysts Tuesday that Disney would release an "Avengers" sequel "eventually, at a date to be determined."

"We're incredibly optimistic about our future, given the strength of our core brands, Disney, Pixar, Marvel, ESPN, and ABC, and our extraordinary ability to grow franchises across our businesses," Iger said in a statement.

Disney reported earnings, excluding certain items, of 58 cents a share on $9.6 billion in revenue.  To top of page

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