Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Royal Caribbean is expected to deliver solid results going forward, backed by strong booking trends, technological innovation, capacity growth and various profit-generating initiatives. The company’s North American products and Asia itineraries are likely to continue performing well as has been the case over the past few quarters. Also, the company’s decision to invest in the fast-growing Chinese cruise markets is commendable. Royal Caribbean recently hiked its quarterly dividend by 28%, thus reflecting its financial stability and substantial profitability. However, higher marketing and promotional spend, along with increased cruise costs, might hurt margins in the near term. Further, despite the growth opportunities, lingering global uncertainties in China and Europe is likely to impact the company’s international profits. The negative impact of the foreign currency translation on the company’s profits is another concern.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on the stock. Citigroup Inc. reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $95.00 target price on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises in a research note on Wednesday, August 24th. Stifel Nicolaus reduced their target price on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises from $99.00 to $94.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Thursday, July 28th. Credit Suisse Group AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $100.00 target price on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises in a research note on Wednesday, August 3rd. Sanford C. Bernstein started coverage on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises in a research note on Thursday, September 8th. They issued an “outperform” rating and a $90.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Nomura reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $83.00 price target on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises in a research note on Wednesday, September 14th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Royal Caribbean Cruises currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $93.52.

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Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) opened at 69.08 on Thursday. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $69.65 and a 200 day moving average of $73.68. Royal Caribbean Cruises has a 52 week low of $64.21 and a 52 week high of $103.40. The stock has a market cap of $14.87 billion, a PE ratio of 19.71 and a beta of 1.73.

Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $1.09 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.02 by $0.07. Royal Caribbean Cruises had a net margin of 9.05% and a return on equity of 14.76%. The company had revenue of $2.11 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.17 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.84 earnings per share. Royal Caribbean Cruises’s quarterly revenue was up 2.3% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities analysts forecast that Royal Caribbean Cruises will post $6.08 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 13th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, September 29th will be issued a $0.48 dividend. This is a boost from Royal Caribbean Cruises’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 27th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.83%. Royal Caribbean Cruises’s dividend payout ratio is presently 42.98%.

In related news, CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo sold 6,790 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, August 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $74.46, for a total value of $505,583.40. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 34,450 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,565,147. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CEO Richard D. Fain purchased 29,190 shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 3rd. The stock was acquired at an average price of $68.52 per share, with a total value of $2,000,098.80. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 1,068,881 shares in the company, valued at $73,239,726.12. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 16.80% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. IFP Advisors Inc increased its stake in Royal Caribbean Cruises by 33.3% in the first quarter. IFP Advisors Inc now owns 1,416 shares of the company’s stock valued at $116,000 after buying an additional 354 shares during the period. MU Investments Co. Ltd. acquired a new stake in Royal Caribbean Cruises during the second quarter valued at approximately $109,000. Invictus RG purchased a new position in shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises during the first quarter worth approximately $164,000. Pinkerton Retirement Specialists LLC purchased a new position in shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises during the second quarter worth approximately $142,000. Finally, Mizuho Asset Management Co. Ltd. increased its position in shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises by 86.3% in the second quarter. Mizuho Asset Management Co. Ltd. now owns 2,321 shares of the company’s stock worth $156,000 after buying an additional 1,075 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.03% of the company’s stock.

About Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a cruise company. The Company owns various brands, such as Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises, CDF Croisieres de France and joint venture interest in TUI Cruises. It operates approximately 23 ships with an aggregate capacity of approximately 68,600 berths under its Royal Caribbean International brand, offering cruise itineraries that range from 2 to 24 nights.

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