Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued 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 brokerages have also recently issued reports on RCL. Tigress Financial upgraded shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 31st. Argus cut shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 7th. Stifel Nicolaus restated a “buy” rating on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises in a research note on Friday, September 9th. Nomura restated a “buy” rating on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises in a research note on Wednesday, June 15th. Finally, Sterne Agee CRT began coverage on shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises in a research note on Tuesday, June 7th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $83.00 price objective for the company. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seventeen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $93.52.

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Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) opened at 67.86 on Thursday. Royal Caribbean Cruises has a 52 week low of $64.21 and a 52 week high of $103.40. The firm has a market capitalization of $14.61 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 19.37 and a beta of 1.73. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $69.65 and a 200-day moving average of $73.68.

Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $1.09 earnings per share for the quarter, beating 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 firm earned $2.11 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.17 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.84 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 2.3% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Royal Caribbean Cruises will post $6.08 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, October 13th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 29th will be paid a dividend of $0.48 per share. This is a positive change from Royal Caribbean Cruises’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.38. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 27th. This represents a $1.92 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.83%. Royal Caribbean Cruises’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 42.98%.

In related news, Director Vagn O. Sorensen bought 1,100 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 18th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $70.50 per share, for a total transaction of $77,550.00. Following the acquisition, the director now owns 18,871 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,330,405.50. The purchase was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo sold 6,790 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $74.46, for a total transaction of $505,583.40. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 34,450 shares in the company, valued at $2,565,147. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 16.80% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. increased its stake in shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises by 1.2% in the first quarter. Chevy Chase Trust Holdings Inc. now owns 143,086 shares of the company’s stock valued at $11,754,000 after buying an additional 1,638 shares during the period. Fjarde AP Fonden Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund increased its stake in Royal Caribbean Cruises by 17.7% in the first quarter. Fjarde AP Fonden Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund now owns 34,958 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,872,000 after buying an additional 5,257 shares during the period. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc increased its stake in Royal Caribbean Cruises by 1.2% in the first quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc now owns 7,726 shares of the company’s stock worth $635,000 after buying an additional 92 shares during the period. Mn Services Vermogensbeheer B.V. acquired a new stake in Royal Caribbean Cruises during the first quarter worth about $314,000. Finally, Virginia Retirement System acquired a new stake in Royal Caribbean Cruises during the first quarter worth about $3,216,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.03% of the company’s stock.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Company Profile

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:RCL

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