Disney (NYSE:DIS) will release its fourth quarter results on Thursday, November 8, 2012. Analysts are expecting the company to report a profit of 68 cents a share, up from 59 cents a year ago.

A business' earnings are the main determinant of its share price because earnings and the circumstances relating to them can indicate whether the business will be profitable and successful in the long run. SEE: Surprising Earnings Results

What to Expect: The consensus estimate for Disney's earnings is 68 cents per share, up 15.3% from a year ago when the company reported earnings of 59 cents per share.

The consensus estimate is down from three months ago when it was 71 cents. For the fiscal year, analysts are expecting earnings of $3.08 per share.

Disney is expected to report revenue of $10.91 billion for the quarter, beating last year's figure of $10.43 billion by 4.7%. The anticipated revenue for the fiscal year is $42.45 billion.

Company Performance: These last four quarters have marked year-over-year revenue growth. It rose 3.9% in the third quarter, 6.1% in the second quarter, 0.6% in the first quarter and 7% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

P/E ratio for DIS is 16.5. A simple P/E ratio can reveal the stock's real market value and show how the valuation compares to its industry group or a benchmark like the S&P 500 Index. A high or low P/E ratio is not good or bad in and of itself, but a company trading with a high P/E ratio must continue to post strong financial performance or its stock price is likely to fall. SEE: Can Investors Trust the P/E Ratio?

Over the past quarter, the stock price has risen slightly to $49.86, from $49.81 on August 7, 2012. Disney's best recent streak was when its price gained $3.41 per share between August 24, 2012 and October 5, 2012.

The Competition: Walt Disney is an entertainment company with operations in: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, and consumer products. The majority of analysts (15 of 25) rate Disney a buy. Buy ratings have increased slightly over the last three months.

The company's closest competitor in the broadcasting and cable tv industry is Comcast (CMCSA). Analysts are less optimistic about Disney than about Comcast. Eighteen out of 23 analysts rate the latter a buy.