Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Carnival (NYSE:CCL) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Carnival shares have outpaced the industry in the past one year. Given burgeoning demand for cruise travel, the addition of new ships to its fleet bodes well. In fact, the company believes that it is well positioned for continued earnings growth, given the current strength in its bookings along with pricing trends for the year. Notably, its brand building efforts together with other marketing activities are driving bookings. Its strategy of growing beyond familiar itineraries and capitalizing on fast growing markets also bodes well.  Cost containment efforts like lower fuel consumption are likely to aid profits.However, adverse forex translations, higher costs and other macroeconomic issues in key operating regions remain headwinds. Additionally, a potential increase in fuel costs might dent profits. Estimates for the current quarter and year has also remained stable, limiting the upside potential of the stock.”

A number of other research analysts have also recently commented on the company. Morgan Stanley upgraded Carnival from an underweight rating to an equal weight rating and increased their price target for the company from $65.94 to $68.00 in a research note on Wednesday. Instinet reiterated a buy rating and issued a $75.00 price target on shares of Carnival in a research note on Monday, October 2nd. Nomura reiterated a buy rating and issued a $75.00 price target on shares of Carnival in a research note on Friday, September 29th. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a neutral rating on shares of Carnival in a research note on Thursday, September 28th. Finally, Argus reiterated a neutral rating and issued a $67.00 price target (down from $78.00) on shares of Carnival in a research note on Thursday, September 28th. Nine investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. Carnival currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average price target of $67.73.

Shares of Carnival (NYSE:CCL) traded up $0.73 on Thursday, hitting $66.91. The stock had a trading volume of 1,753,460 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,154,910. Carnival has a one year low of $50.77 and a one year high of $69.89. The company has a market cap of $35,397.32, a PE ratio of 17.11, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.18 and a beta of 0.73. The company has a quick ratio of 0.16, a current ratio of 0.21 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32.

Carnival (NYSE:CCL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, September 26th. The company reported $2.29 EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $2.20 by $0.09. Carnival had a return on equity of 12.15% and a net margin of 15.53%. The company had revenue of $5.52 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.39 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $1.92 EPS. Carnival’s revenue was up 8.2% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Carnival will post 3.7 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 15th. Investors of record on Friday, November 24th will be given a dividend of $0.45 per share. This is a positive change from Carnival’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.40. This represents a $1.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.69%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, November 22nd. Carnival’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 43.72%.

In related news, CEO Arnold W. Donald sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, November 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $65.43, for a total transaction of $327,150.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 115,572 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,561,875.96. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 100,903 shares of company stock valued at $6,782,771. 23.80% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in CCL. Bessemer Group Inc. grew its holdings in Carnival by 109.4% during the 2nd quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 2,618 shares of the company’s stock worth $171,000 after acquiring an additional 1,368 shares during the period. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. grew its holdings in Carnival by 81.3% during the 2nd quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. now owns 42,517 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,788,000 after acquiring an additional 19,068 shares during the period. IFP Advisors Inc grew its holdings in Carnival by 35.8% during the 2nd quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 10,185 shares of the company’s stock worth $668,000 after acquiring an additional 2,686 shares during the period. HL Financial Services LLC grew its holdings in Carnival by 1.4% during the 2nd quarter. HL Financial Services LLC now owns 17,666 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,158,000 after acquiring an additional 238 shares during the period. Finally, Global X Management Co. LLC grew its holdings in Carnival by 36.9% during the 2nd quarter. Global X Management Co. LLC now owns 6,562 shares of the company’s stock worth $430,000 after acquiring an additional 1,768 shares during the period. 75.94% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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About Carnival

Carnival Corporation is a leisure travel company. The Company is a cruise company of global cruise guests, and a provider of vacations to all cruise destinations throughout the world. The Company operates in four segments: North America, EAA, Cruise Support and, Tour and Other. The Company’s North America segment includes Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises (Princess) and Seabourn.

Analyst Recommendations for Carnival (NYSE:CCL)

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