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Why Carnival Corporation Stock Just Popped

By Rich Smith - Dec 1, 2020 at 11:46AM

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It's not for the reason you're thinking.

What happened

Shares of Carnival Corporation ( CCL -3.86% ) ( CUK -3.87% ) jumped 5.2% in early morning trading Tuesday before retracing to about a 3.6% gain as of 10:45 a.m. And there is news on Carnival today, and at first glance, it looks like news that might justify a slight blip higher for the cruise line stock. I just don't think it's the real reason.

So what

This morning, Carnival announced a series of "Organizational Changes to North American Operations" at its luxury Cunard cruise brand, designed "to strengthen its position and best prepare for the resumption of cruising." 

Three cruise-liner ships lined up abreast in port.

Image source: Getty Images.

That sounds promising at first glance, but if you read on, the sum total of the "organizational changes" Cunard is making includes promoting a marketing director to the new title of "vice president of sales," promoting a marketing manager to marketing director, and expanding the "role" of a pricing director to "add management of the customer service team to his responsibilities." All of these read less like a corporate restructuring and more like a memo from HR (human resources) -- important to the executives concerned, perhaps, but a non-event for an investor.

Now what

More important to Carnival's potential as an investment (and to Royal Caribbean ( RCL -3.08% ) and Norwegian Cruise Line ( NCLH -4.54% ), too) is the news today that Operation Warp Speed head Lt. Gen. Paul Ostrowski just promised that by the end of June: "100% of Americans that want the vaccine [one of the new coronavirus vaccines under development] will have had the vaccine by that point in time. We'll have over 300 million doses available to the American public well before then." 

Now admittedly, there's wiggle room -- even in a promise as seemingly expansive as this one. Was Gen. Ostrowski talking about everyone getting their first of two rounds of vaccine by the end of June or completing treatment with a full two rounds of shots? And what about testing to confirm that the vaccinations "took" -- that antibodies were produced and the patient is now effectively immune from coronavirus? Either of those two quibbles could take a further two weeks to resolve and, combined, add perhaps another month to the vaccination process.

Still, the upshot of the General's promise is that by June or at latest July, the coronavirus pandemic should be over, at least in America. If he's right about that, it would be great news for Carnival Corporation stock -- and probably for its peers Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, as well.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

Carnival Corporation Stock Quote
Carnival Corporation
CCL
$17.20 (-3.86%) $0.69
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Stock Quote
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
RCL
$66.76 (-3.08%) $-2.12
Carnival Corporation Stock Quote
Carnival Corporation
CUK
$15.91 (-3.87%) $0.64
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Stock Quote
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
NCLH
$18.29 (-4.54%) $0.87

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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