Why Royal Caribbean Shares Soared

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE: RCL  ) were headed for the top deck today, gaining as much as 12% on strong guidance in its quarterly earnings report.

So what: Profits and revenues slipped from a year ago, but still beat estimates. The cruise line reported EPS of $1.68 per share, well ahead of the $1.46 consensus estimate, and revenue of $2.23 billion, slightly ahead of expectations. Bookings were stronger than expected, both in North America and Europe, and the industry seems to finally have rebounded from the Costa Concordia disaster in January. Management lifted its full-year guidance $0.15 cents to $1.85 to $1.95/share, as the third quarter is by far the strongest, and expressed optimism about 2013.

Now what: Shares of Royal Caribbean are now at their highest level since July 2011, and could continue to climb as the global economy recovers. This industry is notoriously hard to predict, because it swings with the business cycle, seasonality, and natural disasters, such as weather and the shipwreck we saw earlier. Demographic trends, like the retiring baby boomer generation, seem to favor it, however, which is one reason why Royal Caribbean could continue to surprise.

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