Disney's profit surges in the first quarter, but revenue disappoints amid struggles in media networks

Walt Disney Co. delivered stronger-than-expected profit in the first quarter — thanks partly to a federal tax cut — but its revenue dipped below Wall Street's estimates as the Burbank company saw continued declines at its ESPN cable channels and ABC broadcast network.

Disney reported net income of $4.42 billion, up 78% from a year earlier, boosted by a $1.6-billion one-time tax benefit from the new federal income tax legislation.

Analysts had predicted adjusted earnings per share of $1.61 on revenue of $15.5 billion, according to FactSet, and Disney delivered adjusted per-share earnings of $1.89 on revenue of $15.4 billion, up 4%.

Disney's earnings report comes amid a period of turbulence for global markets — on Monday the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 1,175 points before gaining 567 points a day later — and the company's performance is sure to be scrutinized by anxious investors.