The flurry of nautical news continues today as two analysts have given Carnival (CCL 1.71%) (CUK 1.56%) a strong upgrade, despite ongoing no-sail conditions at U.S. ports. Both Credit Suisse and Argus boosted their price targets for Carnival and upgraded its rating today, CNBC reports.
Credit Suisse's Benjamin Chaiken wrote, "The conversation is changing away from 'survival' and more toward potential earnings catalysts." He cited Carnival's recently reported 90% bookings growth, the efficiency and cost-cutting gained by sale of 19 of its ships, and other factors as the foundation of Credit Suisse's bull case. He also said, "While an exact return to cruise date is still in flux, it's looking increasingly likely that a mid/late summer restart is reasonable," The Street reports, and noted Carnival has an "opportunity to refinance" it debt, potentially boosting its performance above Credit Suisse's estimates.
Chaiken predicts $2.27 earnings per share (EPS) and a rebound to pre-pandemic share prices and volumes. Credit Suisse assigned a $40 price target, approximately a 38% upside from today's share value and a 122% leap from its previous $18 target. The investment bank also upgraded Carnival's rating from neutral to outperform.
Another bull, Argus, upgraded the cruise operator from hold to buy, boosting its price target to $33, a more modest 13.8% upside from today's share value. Analyst John Staszak echoed many of Chaiken's points, including the efficiency gains from the sale of 19 ships, but also highlighted strong pent-up demand for oceangoing vacations, The Fly reports.
The cruise line industry has been making waves in the news this week with Florida launching a lawsuit against the CDC's no-sail orders, and cruise lines looking to move their cruises abroad to salvage profit from the summer sailing season.