Carnival (NYSE:CCL) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released 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 equities research analysts have also recently commented on CCL. Goldman Sachs Group restated a “neutral” rating on shares of Carnival in a research report on Tuesday, August 15th. UBS restated a “buy” rating and set a $76.00 target price (up from $67.00) on shares of Carnival in a research report on Thursday, August 17th. BidaskClub upgraded Carnival from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Friday, August 18th. Credit Suisse Group cut Carnival from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and dropped their target price for the company from $78.00 to $70.00 in a research report on Friday, September 15th. Finally, Susquehanna Bancshares raised their target price on Carnival from $75.00 to $76.00 and gave the company a “positive” rating in a research report on Monday, September 25th. Nine investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $67.73.

Carnival (NYSE:CCL) traded up $0.12 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $66.06. The stock had a trading volume of 3,002,800 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,164,449. Carnival has a 52-week low of $50.77 and a 52-week high of $69.89. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32, a current ratio of 0.21 and a quick ratio of 0.16. The firm has a market cap of $35,333.03, a PE ratio of 17.08, a PEG ratio of 1.18 and a beta of 0.73.

Carnival (NYSE:CCL) last posted its 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 firm had revenue of $5.52 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $5.39 billion. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.92 EPS. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 8.2% on a year-over-year basis. equities research analysts expect that Carnival will post 3.7 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, CEO Arnold W. Donald sold 5,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $65.57, for a total value of $327,850.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CEO Arnold W. Donald sold 90,903 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.41, for a total transaction of $6,127,771.23. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 100,903 shares of company stock worth $6,782,771 over the last ninety days. 23.80% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Almanack Investment Partners LLC. purchased a new position in Carnival in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $117,000. Grove Bank & Trust lifted its stake in Carnival by 367.8% in the 3rd quarter. Grove Bank & Trust now owns 2,035 shares of the company’s stock worth $131,000 after purchasing an additional 1,600 shares in the last quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. lifted its stake in Carnival by 109.4% in the 2nd quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 2,618 shares of the company’s stock worth $171,000 after purchasing an additional 1,368 shares in the last quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. lifted its stake in Carnival by 826.2% in the 3rd quarter. Smithfield Trust Co. now owns 2,825 shares of the company’s stock worth $182,000 after purchasing an additional 2,520 shares in the last quarter. Finally, YorkBridge Wealth Partners LLC lifted its stake in Carnival by 1.4% in the 2nd quarter. YorkBridge Wealth Partners LLC now owns 2,926 shares of the company’s stock worth $191,000 after purchasing an additional 40 shares in the last quarter. 75.94% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Carnival Company Profile

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.

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