Q1 Preview: All Aboard! Carnival (CCL) Faces Concordia Incident, Higher Fuel Prices Loom

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Carnival Corp. ( CCL ) shares are coming down off of some highs Thursday afternoon heading into its first-quarter 2012 earnings report, though the stock is still comfortably in positive territory.

Expected out before the market opens, the Street is looking for Carnival to report a break-even loss in the quarter on revs of $3.57 billion, compared with earnings of 19 cents and revs of $3.4 billion reported in the same period last year.

Shares of Carnival moved 12.6 percent lower through the quarter, to $30.29 at the end of February. The stock is about 1.5 percent better since the end of the quarter and is down about 5 percent for 2012.

Obviously, most of the dip came following the Costa Concordia incident in January, which saw 30 lives lost. During January, shares went from above $34 to $29 per share real quick. That's for a stock which would move in a range of $5 on average over a three or four month time frame...meaning Carnival's stock is just about as steady as its armada of liners.

Analysts still appear to be a little bullish on Carnival, Bloomberg data has 14 analysts at Buy, eight with a Hold, and none at Sell. The Street's price target average is $34, ranging from $29 to $39. Carnival has traded within a range of $28.52 to $41.95 over the last year.

Analyst Comments

  • Goldman Sachs is expecting a loss of 13 cents per share, most of which stems from the Costa Concordia incident. The firm comments, "We think investors generally expect earnings and guidance to go lower but any sign of stabilization or reversal in very recent trends could create a relief rally."

    Constant net yield in the quarter should be 1.5 percent, though prices were recently lowered to reflect higher bunker fuel prices at $726 per metric ton versus $705 prior.

  • Topeka Capital Markets sees earnings of 5 cents per share, commenting, "investors may look beyond Street estimates muddled by fuel price spikes and the short-term effects of the Costa Concordia accident. Higher fuel prices, if assumed to hold, could necessitate cuts in ours and consensus estimates for F2012. However, bunker fuel is easily tracked, so we believe investor sentiment has discounted higher prices, even if Street estimates have to catch up."
Stay tuned to StreetInsider.com's EPS Insider section to see our analysis of the highly-anticipated quarterly results within seconds of their release. You can also check out Carnival's past performance at Streetinsider's Carnival's Income Statement .



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: CCL

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